CDC Mask Mandate For Airlines Dropped After Court Ruling
A federal judge in Florida ruled that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s mask mandate for public transportation was an overstep of authority.
Former President Donald Trump appointee U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle of Tampa, Florida, determined that the CDC had violated administrative law by failing to give adequate reasoning for the mandate and not allowing public input which is required when issuing new laws.
“The Mask Mandate is best understood not as sanitation, but as an exercise of the CDC’s power to conditionally release individuals to travel despite concerns that they may spread a communicable disease (and to detain or partially quarantine those who refuse),” Mizelle wrote in her decision. “But the power to conditionally release and detain is ordinarily limited to individuals entering the United States from a foreign country.”
The Transportation Security Administration announced Monday that they would no longer be enforcing the mask mandate on their planes and other public transportation.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at a press conference on Monday that the decision was “disappointing” and that the Biden administration would look into the case and decide whether to appeal the decision or not.
United Airlines, Delta Airlines, Southwest Airlines and Amtrak all made statements saying they would no longer require masks, but that they still encouraged following the CDC recommendation.
The decision follows the CDC’s fifth extension of the mask mandate. They announced last week that the expiration date for the mandate would be moved back from April 18 to May 3 due to the spike in COVID-19 cases. The latest subvariant, BA.2, has caused a 36 percent increase in cases in the past two weeks, but hospitalizations are still down 90 percent since the peak of omicron last winter.