Sun Metro and the El Paso International Airport have stopped enforcing their mask mandates following a federal court ruling that voided the requirement on most public transportation including commercial flights and buses, among other settings.

Ellen Smyth, director of Sun Metro and the city’s Environmental Services, said the mask requirement ended Tuesday for Sun Metro drivers and passengers.

“We already notified all of the drivers (that) it’s optional — it’s preferred  — but we are no longer enforcing the mask mandate as of today,” Smyth said.

The requirement had been in place for nearly two years.

Federal officials last week extended the federal mask mandate until at least May 3, but U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle of the Middle District of Florida on Monday ruled it “unlawful” because it exceeds the statutory authority of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

City officials also lifted the mask requirement at the El Paso International Airport Tuesday.

“The City of El Paso adheres to federal policy regarding face masks,” said city spokesperson Laura Cruz Acosta. “TSA (the Transportation Security Administration) has lifted the mask mandate on public transportation and at transportation hubs and reminds travelers that CDC recommends wearing masks in indoor transportation settings.”

Elida S. Perez is a senior reporter for El Paso Matters. Her experience includes work as city government watchdog reporter for the El Paso Times, investigative reporter for El Paso Newspaper Tree and communities...