The U.S. Department of Justice and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC said they disagree with the Florida district court’s decision to strike down the Biden Administration’s Covid-19 mask mandate for public transportation. The agencies plan to appeal the court ruling if CDC concludes that the mask order remains necessary for public health.
In a statement on ruling in Health Freedom Defense Fund Inc., et al. vs Biden, et al., DOJ spokesman Anthony Coley said the Department continues to believe that the mask requirement order in the transportation corridor is a valid exercise of the authority Congress has given CDC to protect the public health.
CDC had issued the Biden administration’s mandate in February 2021 that was applied to public transportation and transportation hubs. On April 13, before the district court’s decision, CDC extended it through May 3.
CDC explained that the order would remain in effect while it assessed the then public health conditions and that the Transportation Security Administration or TSA would extend its directive implementing the order until May 3 to facilitate CDC’s assessment.
Coley added, “If CDC concludes that a mandatory order remains necessary for the public’s health after that assessment, the Department of Justice will appeal the district court’s decision.”
Meanwhile, following the court ruling, TSA stated that it no longer enforces the federal face mask mandate applied to public transportation and transportation hubs.
A Biden administration official reportedly said that CDC’s public transportation masking order is not in effect due to the court ruling, but its recommendation for people to wear masks in indoor public transportation settings remains.
With the court ruling and the adjacent TSA decision, several airlines and travel authorities have made masks optional for their employees and customers, even as new coronavirus cases are sharply rising again.
American Airlines has made face masks optional at U.S. airports and on domestic flights but added that face masks may still be required based on local ordinances, or when traveling to/from certain international locations based on country requirements.
Orlando International Airport said face masks are now optional in its airport and facilities, and ride-sharing platforms Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc. said they no longer require U.S. riders or drivers to wear a mask.
Meanwhile, New York Governor Kathy Hochul said masks are still required by New York City metropolitan area’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority. She urged all to wear a mask in settings where required, like on public transit and in health care facilities.
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