Despite the recent decision by a federal judge in Florida, Long Beach officials announced today masks will still be required inside transit hubs, including Long Beach Airport, as well as on buses and other public transit, aligning with a county order.

The Long Beach Health Department is expected to release an updated health order next week with specific details for implementation. Until then, masks are not required in the specified areas, Health Department spokeswoman Jennifer Gonzalez confirmed in an email to the Post.

“We strongly recommend that people continue to wear masks in transportation hubs for their safety,” Long Beach Health Officer Dr. Anissa Davis said in an email to the Post.

The announcement will not impact Long Beach Transit operations, as the agency never lifted its masking requirement for passengers aboard its buses and other vehicles, according to spokeswoman Arantxa Chavarria.

Long Beach Airport, on the other hand, lifted its indoor mask requirement following Monday’s federal ruling, according to spokeswoman Marlene Arrona. Masking signage was removed Tuesday, she said.

The city’s announcement comes the day after Los Angeles County officials announced a similar order, which includes the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Los Angeles International Airport.

Earlier this week, Metro lifted mask mandates for its buses and rail lines, and masks became optional inside LAX and Hollywood Burbank Airport.

Rideshare services, including Uber and Lyft, also dropped their mask requirements but continued to recommend passengers wear face coverings.

Effective at 12:01 a.m. this morning, the updated county order requires masks on trains, buses, taxis and rideshares as well as inside airport and bus terminals, train and subway stations, seaports and other indoor port terminals. The county also continues to require masks in health care settings, long-term and adult/senior care facilities, jails and prisons, shelters and cooling centers, and when it is the policy of a business or venue.

The county order applies to everyone ages 2 and older, regardless of vaccination status.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Justice filed an appeal of the Florida ruling by Trump-appointed U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle. The ruling lifted the federal mask mandate inside airports, transit hubs and on public transit systems.

Local health agencies, however, are still permitted to implement their own safety measures.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for its part, issued a statement Wednesday stating it believes masking in indoor transportation settings “remains necessary for the public health.”

“CDC will continue to monitor public health conditions to determine whether such an order remains necessary,” according to the statement. “CDC believes this is a lawful order, well within CDC’s legal authority to protect public health.”

Kimball Mizelle’s ruling also lifted the requirement for passengers to wear masks aboard commercial airplanes, a decision that will remain in place unless the Justice Department’s appeal sees the ruling overturned.

Feds appeal ruling that scrapped mask requirement on planes, mass transit

Brandon Richardson is a reporter and photojournalist for the Long Beach Post and Long Beach Business Journal.