BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — The Baton Rouge Metro Airport and Capital Area Transit System say face masks are now optional.

Travelers at BTR say they’re leaving it up to themselves if they feel comfortable.

“I never liked wearing it in the first place, so I’m glad,” said Abbe Richardson.

“Most people are vaccinated so I think we should be good,” said Kenard Gaines.

Some catching a flight are still erring on the side of caution.

“I don’t have any issues wearing a mask,” said Devin Peters. “It helps me protect the person next to me.”

Ochsner Regional Medical Director Dr. Aldo Russo says ventilation on public transportation has improved since the start of the pandemic. But he has concerns because of the Omicron sub-variant.

“Being exposed to one or two people with Covid in a plane and not wearing a mask can cause the entire flight to get infected,” said Russo.

Omicron BA.2 is now the dominant variant in Louisiana and the country, according to Russo.

“My concern is we might see a different type of spike. This may not affect directly healthcare, although it might. But the problem is once you get the infection, you have to stay home and that impacts the workforce,” said Russo.

Russo says face masks have helped people avoid getting sick altogether.

“We have seen a significant drop in flu and other virtual cases. Because people are wearing masks,” he said.

Even though BTR is letting go of the mandate, certain airlines and airports may still require a face covering. Some say it’s now the new normal to decide when they feel safe to mask up or mask off.

“I still wear it on a plane just to be cautious for the time being, but for the most part I get to take it off,” said Kandacie Warren.