19 April 2022
Morrisville, N.C. — The Raleigh-Durham International Airport will no longer require visitors or employees to wear a mask at the airport.
The Transportation Security Administration will not enforce the security directive that requires airport guests and employees to wear masks at RDU, effective immediately.
“RDU visitors and employees are no longer required to wear a mask at the airport, effective immediately,” RDU tweeted on Monday night. “The TSA will no longer enforce the security directive that requires airport guests and employees to wear masks.”
Traveler Janet Kazmer spoke with WRAL News shortly after the mandate was lifted, she said she heard the news just before departing for Raleigh.
“I was very excited I think it’s long overdue,” said Kazmer.
RDU said visitors may continue to wear masks at the airport at their discretion.
On Tuesday morning, most people at RDU were arriving at the airport without masks. Many of those put their masks back on to get through the TSA line, which puts travelers in closer contact with staff and fellow travelers.
“I see more people comfortable without wearing one,” said Kazmer. Just in the regular parts of the airport, checking counters I see lots of people without them, but I think at least what I saw today when I boarded the plane there was still the expectation that you wore one.”
On Monday, a federal judge in Florida voided the national mask mandate covering airlines and other public transportation as exceeding the authority of U.S. health officials in their response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Biden administration also issued a statement on Monday.
“The agencies are reviewing the decision and assessing potential next steps,” the statement read. “In the meantime, today’s court decision means the CDC’s public transportation masking order is not in effect at this time.”
The TSA issued a statement informing the public that “[d]ue to today’s court ruling, effective immediately, TSA will no longer enforce its Security Directives and Emergency Amendment requiring mask use on public transportation and transportation hubs. TSA will also rescind the new Security Directives that were scheduled to take effect tomorrow. CDC continues to recommend that people wear masks in indoor public transportation settings at this time.”
Many airlines also announced updates. United airlines, Delta, Southwest & Alaska Airlines all suspended their mask requirements.
“Effective immediately, masks are no longer required at United on domestic flights, select international flights (dependent upon the arrival country’s mask requirements) or at U.S. airports,” United Airlines statement read.
“Face masks have been like boarding passes for nearly two years — you couldn’t fly without one,” Alaska Airlines’ statement read. “But, as of today, masks are optional in airports and onboard aircraft, effective immediately.”
Alaska Airlines also issued information about banned passengers.
“Based on our reports, we will have some guests whose behavior was particularly egregious who will remain banned, even after the mask policy is rescinded,” Alaska Airlines said.
WRAL News is following this developing story and waiting to hear back from local transit groups, including GoRaleigh and North Carolina State University, on whether masks are still required on their buses.