BART to lift COVID-19 mask mandate on October 1

OAKLAND – Officials with Bay Area Rapid Transit announced Thursday that the current mask mandate would expire on October 1, one of the last places in the region where pandemic-era mask rules remain in place.

The agency’s Board of Directors approved a new resolution on masks that would trigger a mask mandate when public health officials require it in their jurisdictions. Since no requirement currently exists, the mandate will be allowed to expire.

As masking requirements have eased in the Bay Area and California, BART has largely kept its rules in place, save for a few brief periods earlier this year. Masks were briefly optional in late April after a federal judge struck down the federal mask mandate on public transit, but the agency reinstated its own requirement days later.

The face covering requirement was again dropped on July 18, but the agency reinstated the mask mandate on July 28, citing a rise in COVID-19 cases at the time.

Under the resolution approved Thursday, masks would again be required if any one of the following conditions are met:

  • A health officer in any one of the counties BART serves reinstates a mask mandate (Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo or Santa Clara)
  • The California Department of Public Health reinstates an indoor mask mandate.
  • The Centers for Disease Control or Transportation Security Administration reinstates a mandate.
  • Any metropolitan area in the U.S. experiences a COVID-19 surge as defined by the CDC.

BART said it still strongly recommends masking in the system and that free masks will continue to be available through station agents and BART Police personnel.

The easing of mask rules on BART comes on the same week as the California Department of Public Health updated its guidance saying that face coverings will no longer be required for employees and visitors at congregate facilities such as prisons and homeless shelters. 

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