How does CDC mask mandate for public transportation impact Cenla?

Published: Feb. 2, 2021 at 8:48 PM CST
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - It’s Groundhog Day, and just like the movie, we have been hearing what seems like the same things over and over when it comes to wearing masks. But, on Monday night, the CDC is now saying masks are mandated for public transportation.

Catahoula Parish resident Scott Bennett flew out of Alexandria International Airport on Tuesday, heading back to work in Texas. He was packed up, ready to go, but with his newest addition to his outfit: a mask.

“I thought it was going to be a hindrance for me but it’s no different than putting on a jacket now or a hat, it’s just a part of my attire,” said Bennett.

But, he has to wear it to fly. It has been a rule for months at AEX. But as of Monday night, the CDC is mandating masks for all public transportation.

“I say hey look, if you don’t want to wear the mask, if you are not comfortable with the mandate, just don’t travel or enter those particular settings,” said Bennett.

There weren’t a lot of changes for AEX with the new mandate. The airport already had signs up, social distancing markers in place and the airlines already had a mask mandate.

“We consider ourselves part of the State of Louisiana and we have been following all of the guidelines for public buildings. So, it’s really business as usual for us,” said Sandra McQuain, Executive Director for England Airpark.

The mandate also includes rideshare services, taxis, subways, trains and buses. The City of Alexandria says A-Trans was previously following the governor’s orders that recommended masks. Now, you wear one or you don’t ride.

“Everybody has been in compliance thus far. My main thing is that the drivers do not engage if a passenger is irate. We will call APD,” said Ann Howard, Transit Manager for the City of Alexandria.

How will the mandate be enforced? The CDC order will make non-compliance a violation of federal law and will be enforced by the TSA, state and local authorities.

There are some exceptions to the rules. If you are under the age of two, you don’t have to wear one. You can slip the mask down to eat or drink, or while talking to someone who is hearing impaired.

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