CTA, Metra riders adjust to removal of mask requirements
CHICAGO - At the CTA’s Halsted Orange Line station Wednesday morning, commuters could have a different traveling experience.
The CTA and Metra ended the mask requirement Tuesday after the state of Illinois mandate was lifted for public transportation.
CTA and Metra were the last on board with the loosening of mask restrictions. Now it’s an option for everyone.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker urged Illinoisans to follow CDC guidelines and get vaccinated, since COVID-19 is still present.
Commuters have been wearing masks for two years. Now, mask-wearing is a habit and a comfort for some people.
Jeff Gagen, of Bridgeport, said he received his second booster shot and has been riding the CTA since the pandemic started.
"It's starting to get more crowded and that might make some people uncomfortable. I’ve been in crowds, I have traveled and the shots have helped. I’ve had no infections," Gagen said.
Sarah Weiner is a high school senior who commutes by CTA rail. She said her school still mandates masks.
"It was mandated here [on the CTA], but not in restaurants or public places. So now that the mandate is lifted, it is more clear whether or not you have to wear a mask," Weiner said.
Bus drivers and train operators said riders were starting to do what they wanted to do anyway.
CTA employees said enforcing the rules was awkward and sometimes confrontational. They no longer have to endure that.