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Fort Smith/Fayetteville News | 5newsonline KFSM 5NEWS | Get the local news and weather where you live from 5NEWS. Covering Fort Smith, Fayetteville, Bentonville, and all of Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley.

Federal Mask Mandate Will Supersede State & Local

Public transit will continue with mask requirements even if Gov. Asa Hutchinson rescinds the state's mask mandate.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Public transit passengers must continue to wear masks whether Governor Asa Hutchinson continues Arkansas’ mask mandate.

“We will continue to require face covering for our passengers or anyone who enters the terminal,” said Alex English, Public Relations and Marketing Specialist at XNA Northwest Arkansas National Airport. 

Mask will be required whether you plan on traveling via bus or a plane because it is federal property.  Both receive federal money and must abide by federal mask guidelines. However, like the state mandate, there are some exemptions to the mask requirement. Those under the age of two and those with disabilities are not required to wear masks.

“They will ask you to put a face covering on, and if that is refused, then, unfortunately, you will be escorted from the building,” said English.

Public transit workers say they’re not too worried about passengers not following the federal guidelines.  

“They usually get off the bus if we ask them to get off the bus," said bus driver Lee Arendtson. "And they also follow our rules."

“Until that law is rescinded, everyone is required to wear a face-covering that covers the nose, face, and mouth to board with us and to ride,” Bobby Tomlin, Ozark Regional Transit Operations Manager. “The mandate in Arkansas does not supersede the federal law. So, the federal requirement will still have to be required on all transportation. Buses and airplanes, and trains until the federal government lifts the requirement.”

The Transportation Security Administration does not plan on lifting the mask requirement until May 11, 2021.  

RELATED: Fayetteville could still require face masks even if governor lifts statewide mandate next week

RELATED: Arkansas business owners worry over potentially lifting mask mandate