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State College Mask Mandate

In other state headlines the CDC extended the mask mandate Wednesday for public transport after the mandate was set to end next Monday.

But the agency pushed it back to May 3rd, at the last minute. But how do commuters feel about it?

We’ve seen a rollback of mandates, in even every part of the country. And some people wonder when this will extend to public transportation.

“Yeah, I use CATA to get back to my dorm after class, to prevent the long walks.”

“Yeah. I commute every day to my office.”

This extension of the mandate also comes during an increase in a covid subvarient called BA2. The CDC said Wednesday that BA2 now makes up over 85 percent of new cases in the United States.

Doctor Ashish Jha the White House Covid Response Coordinator said in a Wednesday interview that the extension gives the CDC more time to evaluate BA2.

But do CATA riders feel the mandate is necessary?

“I mean, on public transportation, like, it does get really cramped sometimes. So, I understand why. But, honestly, I would feel safe on public transportation, with or without the mandate.”

“I may understand why [the CDC] would extend it. They allow even when you’re on [PSU’s] campus, even at events they don’t require it all. Around campus, even in bigger classrooms now, or even in the Hub. …So, why do you have to do it when you’re on 10 minutes on the bus?”

One commuter named Hunter says he thinks the buses’ ventilation system should ward off any virus.

“Most of them already have ventilation systems going in and out, so it’s not like it’s always, it’s all the air’s contain inside. So, it’s not like it’s just contaminating itself. It’s being processed through. So, I don’t see a reason why I’d have it.”

Another rider named Justin tells me his concerns about the mandate possibly affecting labor shortages and CATA’s service.

“It’s probably because, honestly, like, so many workers have been quitting. It’s really obvious to everyone here at Penn State, like, the buses will either just be completely packed and you’d have to wait for the next one, and it’ll usually you make you, like, pretty late.”

“I’m trying to get to my class, and now I’m 15 minutes late.”

Although, Justin says he understands some people’s worries about going maskless.

“We just don’t know, like, much about it. And so, I mean, even for me, like, I got vaccinated and, like, I don’t. I think it’s fine, you know. But, I see why people would get a little bit, you know, cautious about it.”

And he predicts that forcing the mandate on people will have unintended results.

“I just feel that if it’s, like, gonna be shoved into people’s faces and, like, forced, then everyone’s just gonna push back against it. And especially, like, workers.”


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