ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Regional Transit Service announced masking will now be optional for both customers and employees Tuesday.

According to officials, the measure will be followed on both bus services and inside facilities.

The decision comes after a federal judge struck down the Biden administration’s mask mandate on public transit including trains and planes.

A number of similar services, such as the Uber ride sharing app, made the switch over to mask-optional after the latest move in the transportation industry.

Since the mandate was blocked by the judge Monday, it was met with both cheers and fear as some raised concerns over the recent uptick in coronavirus cases across the country.

Locally, infections have gradually been climbing with Monroe County now averaging 596 new COVID-19 cases per day over the last week — up by nearly 150 since last Monday.

This increase in cases has been attributed to the presence of the highly contagious omicron BA.2 variant, first detected locally on March 24.

Despite the rise in cases, Monroe County Public Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza told News 8 earlier this month that this variant is “not as serious,” but he added that does not mean that individual people might not be at risk.”

Despite the judge’s ruling, the TSA still recommends masking up while using public transportation.

The decision by U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle in Tampa, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, said the CDC failed to justify the mandate and did not follow proper rulemaking.

In her 59-page ruling, Mizelle said the only remedy was to vacate the rule entirely across the country because it would be impossible to end it for the limited group of people who objected in the lawsuit.

Officials with RTS say the agency will continue making masks available at its facilities, including the RTS Transit Center, for those who are more comfortable wearing a mask.


Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.