KENNEWICK, Wash. — As Washington state prepares to take off its masks and breathe the fresh air this Spring, commuters in the Tri-Cities and beyond need to be mindful of federal regulations that require the use of masks and/or face coverings on public transportation, airports, and planes.
Despite nearly all of the 50 states preparing to de-mask, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) isn’t ready to get rid of its safety measures. The federal mask requirement was extended through April 18, 2022—regardless of vaccination status.
Anyone who travels through Tri-Cities Airport (PSC) must continue to wear masks in their facilities and on flights. However, masks are no longer required while outdoors on airport property; including parking lots and the curb.
“While the federal mask mandate remains in effect, we ask that everyone who visits the Tri-Cities Airport comply with regulations and wear a mask inside the terminal,” stated Buck Taft, Director of the Tri-Cities Airport.
That same rule applies to all forms of public transportation. In the Tri-Cities, that specifically pertains to riders of the Ben Franklin Transit’s many bus routes and public serves. BFT spokesperson Marie Cummins reminds the community that masks will be available to riders on their vehicles to make this transition easier.
“We’ve been working hard to spread the word to riders that masks will still be required on all Ben Franklin Transit property and vehicles come March 12,” Cummins said. “We know a lot of folks are looking forward to taking off their masks, and the last thing we want is for our riders to be disappointed and unprepared when they board our vehicles.”
Filtration systems and air purification systems have been improved on Ben Franklin Transit buses.