LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Public transportation changed drastically on Monday and Tuesday as rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft joined airports, airlines, train operators, and public bus transportation in dropping the long-standing mask mandate.
Veteran rideshare driver, Dave Carpenter, said most of his riders couldn't wait to ditch the cloth masks.
"They just ripped them off," Carpenter said. "It was like watching a college football game, and they won."
#NEW: Reaction to mask mandates dropping on public ground transport has been mixed, as some pledge to continue masking up in Ubers and on buses.— @SeanKTNV (@seanktnv) April 20, 2022
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However, he said some riders continue to wear a mask. In his experience, more people choose to ditch the masks.
Carpenter said many grew tired of the inconsistency on when they should and shouldn't be wearing masks.
"With all the entertainment we have here, you go to a Raiders game, and everything is OK, don't need it," he said. "Then they get back in the car having the Las Vegas excitement and then they're met with, 'what do you mean, I've got to put that thing on'?'"
The Regional Transportation Commission buses have dropped their mandate as well, with riders more split about whether the masks should remain on the normally crowded rides.
"I was excited because we finally get to breathe a little bit," said daily rider Matthew Clanton. "It felt like freedom, almost."
Veronica Alisa-Bates, also a daily rider, said she'd continue to protect herself.
"They sneeze, they cough, and they don't cover their noses or anything, so I don't think it's a good idea on those buses," she said.
Alisa-Bates said she feared dropping the masks too soon could allow for another COVID-19 surge. It would mean losing the hard-earned progress that has allowed restrictions to be eased.
"I just think that they're going to close everything down again," she said.
The U.S. Department of Justice announced Tuesday that it would appeal the decision lifting the mask mandate if the CDC believed it was still necessary.