Julio Montoya (right) checks his phone while waiting for the bus outside the City Hall in San Jose, Calif., on Oct. 6, 2021. (Harika Maddala/ Bay City News)

The Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District lifted its onboard mask mandate Sunday for the first time since early June.

AC Transit elected to lift its mask requirement as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have dropped considerably in recent weeks, although riders will still be encouraged to wear a mask if they choose to do so.

“Our transit district is confident that wearing a well-fitted mask, widespread vaccination, and broad access to self-testing has been instrumental in reducing COVID-19 transmissions and achieving the health outcomes recorded by local and federal public health officers,” AC Transit said in a statement.

Similar to BART, which also dropped its mask mandate for riders over the weekend, AC Transit said it would begin requiring masks once again if local, state or federal health officials also reinstate indoor mask requirements or if cases spike again across the Bay Area.

AC Transit will continue to provide masks and hand sanitizer for free on all buses in its fleet.