WATERTOWN — Earlier this week, it seemed CitiBus riders and drivers would be able to unmask on the bus, but as of Thursday, that is not the case.
CitiBus said in a news release that riders must continue to wear masks until Gov. Kathleen C. Hochul lifts the state mandate for public transportation.
During an appearance in Syracuse on Wednesday, Gov. Kathleen C. Hochul said that mask-wearing will be required for buses, trains and other public transportation systems in the state, despite a Florida federal judge’s ruling on Monday that they would not.
The Department of Justice said it will be appealing the Florida decision, based on the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions’ conclusion that the mask-wearing order “remains necessary for public health.”
“The Department continues to believe that the order requiring masking in the transportation corridor is a valid exercise of the authority Congress has given CDC to protect the public health,” the DOJ said in a statement. “That is an important authority the Department will continue to work to preserve.”
CitiBus had said Wednesday that it would be a personal decision whether someone wants to wear a mask, before reverting to the mandate Thursday.
CitiBus will not provide masks at this time, saying it is the responsibility of riders “to have a face mask and to properly wear it while on public transit.”
Failure to wear a mask may result in denial of service or removal from the bus, and those who refuse to wear a mask “may be subject to penalties under state law,” CitiBus said.
The U.S. Transportation Security Administration announced on Monday that it will no longer enforce masks on public transportation and transportation hubs, while also recommending people continue to mask up.