Face masks are now optional on Big Blue Bus and Metro as of Friday Sept. 23. The announcement by the two agencies comes as the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health dropped mask requirements for public transit including buses, trains and airports. 

While no longer required, Metro emphasized on Twitter that health officials still recommend masking and BBB asked riders to be respectful of those who continue to wear masks on buses.

“We understand that everyone has a different level of comfort,” BBB said in a statement released Friday. “Some riders may continue to wear a face covering for added safety, while others choose not to. We ask that you respect the preference of your Operator and fellow riders.”

LA County has remained in the “low’ category for COVID-19 community spread for the last few weeks, with deaths and hospitalizations trending downwards as well. The Department of Public Health also relaxed indoor masking guidance Friday, shifting from “strongly recommended” to “individual preference.”

The changes are part of statewide easing of regulations which has also resulted in the dropping of mask requirements in correctional facilities and shelters. Masks are still required in all healthcare and long-term care facilities.

Requirements and guidelines remain subject to change and if cases rise again mandates may be reinstated. 

“We remain committed to keeping our system safe, and will continue to make changes to how you ride, based on guidance from the CDC and LA County Public Health,” BBB said.

grace@smdp.com