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CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago-area residents can begin their morning commute without a mask Wednesday for the first time in a long time, and public transit riders have mixed feelings.

Gov. JB Pritzker amended Illinois' public transit mask mandate Tuesday to align with the ruling made by a Florida judge striking down the federal mask mandate Monday.



In a statement, Pritzker's office said the order has been revised "to align with the ending of the enforcement of the federal mask mandate on public transportation." As a result, the state will no longer require masks to be worn on public transit, in public transit hubs or in airports.
The governor's officer reiterated that "local municipalities retain the right to establish their own mitigations, including masking requirements on public transportation."

"We want to encourage local governments and businesses to take actions that they think will keep their patrons, their local residents safe," Pritzker said.

The Chicago Department of Aviation said it will follow the updated order and no longer require masks at O'Hare and Midway airports, adding, "Those who wish continue to masking are encouraged to do so. Please be kind and courteous to fellow riders as we continue to welcome folks back to Chicago's airports."

While TSA will no longer enforce the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's masking recommendation, Chicago Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady advised travelers to continue to wear masks on planes even if they're not required to.

"I just feel a lot more comfortable when I hear somebody coughing, knowing that everybody has one on, and I intend to continue to wear it," she said.

"And I can tell you, for the foreseeable future for myself, I'm not getting on a plane without a mask," said Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

While Chicago COVID cases are creeping up again, hospitalizations remain low, so at this point the city has no plans to reinstate an indoor mask mandate.

CTA confirmed it will no longer require masking as per the governor's amended order, saying in a statement, "While the city continues to see low levels of transmission of COVID-19, customers and employees who wish to continue wearing masks are encouraged to do so. We ask all customers to be courteous and respectful to fellow riders."

"I'm still wearing it. You see I've got a mask on. I don't know, and I've got a baby, too, so I've got to do what's best," said CTA rider Tamia White.

Pace has also made masks optional.
"I do think it's a little premature. I know a lot of people are ready for it, but that doesn't make it the right choice," said CTA rider Bob Mason.

After the governor made his announcement, Metra issued a new statement saying in part, "Starting immediately, masks will be welcome but not required while traveling on Metra trains. They remain an important preventive measure against COVID-19."

The ever-changing rules had some commuters feeling a bit of whiplash Tuesday morning.

"I do think it's confusing. It's probably just one of those things where you keep a mask in your back pocket 'cause you really don't know -- kind of what are the rules, what are the guidelines?" Metra rider Jenna Little asked.

Uber and Lyft have dropped their requirements also.

"You are sitting in close proximity and it's crowded sometimes, yes, everyone needs a mask on public transportation," said Cassandra Muhammad, CTA rider.

READ MORE: Florida judge voids US COVID-19 mask mandate for planes, public transportation

But CTA rider Sean McNulty was happy about the decision.

WATCH: Local doctor weighs in on mask mandate changes
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A local doctor weighed in on recent mask mandate changes.



"It's going to improve my experience in Chicago, and not having to wear a mask is something that I absolutely welcome," he said.

Metra rider Michael Davenport agreed.

"I really don't want to wear it; I'm tired of it -- it's a headache and nuisance," he said.

And as of Wednesday morning, CPS and Elgin District U-46 have both said masks are no longer required on school buses.

"You know, they took masks away at work, and taking it off at the airlines and everywhere else, so go with the flow," Metra rider Dave Shaughnessy said.

News Source: abc7chicago.com

Tags: face mask travel health face mask cdc air travel public transportation jb pritzker amtrak metra mass transit uber cta i do think it’s the governor’s the governor’s do think it’s really don’t the federal mask mandate think it’s don’t know no longer require masks i’ve got will no longer require ’ve got to continue to wear to align without a mask public transit in a statement florida judge not required local doctor what

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Crime and Public Safety | Bay Area man pleads to killing girlfriend, gets 16 years to life

Facing a preliminary hearing in Solano County Superior Court, a 35-year-old Fairfield man pleaded to second-degree murder for the July 2021 stabbing death of his girlfriend and will be sentenced next month to 16 years to life.

As part of a plea deal, Hugo Ulises Avelino-Medina, who entered his plea on Monday in Department 9, will be formally sentenced to state prison when he returns for the sentencing hearing at 1:30 p.m. Jan. 17 in the Justice Center in Fairfield, The Reporter has learned.

During the morning proceeding in Judge Carlos R. Gutierrez’s courtroom, Avelino-Medina also admitted to using a knife to kill Erika Avelino, 36, of Fairfield.

Deputy District Attorney Shelly Moore led the prosecution, and Deputy Public Defender Jeannette Garcia represented Avelino-Medina, who remains in the Stanton Correctional Facility in Fairfield without bail.

At the time of his initial arraignment, he also was charged with DUI and a probation violation, with both offenses occurring at the time of his arrest at 2:47 p.m. July 8 in San Rafael, according to jail records.

Events first unfolded around 11 a.m. in Fairfield, when police officers responded to the 200 block of Pennsylvania Avenue for a report of domestic violence. Upon arrival, they found Avelino’s body.

A preliminary investigation revealed Avelino-Medina was the suspect. He fled before officers arrived, officials said.

However, his vehicle was found in San Rafael and recovered by Fairfield police. The California Highway Patrol aided in the recovery.

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With the help of the Marin County Sheriff’s Office and San Rafael Police Department, Avelino-Medina was found and arrested at the intersection of Medway Road and Front Street in San Rafael.

He was later booked into Solano County Jail in Fairfield.

By pleading, Avelino-Medina avoided the possibility of a 25-year-to-life sentence if found guilty of first-degree murder, with the likelihood of more time for enhancements or included offenses.

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