A federal judge in Florida has overturned the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) mask mandate for public transit and planes.
U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle said the mandate, which was created by the Biden administration, “was unlawful because it exceeded the statutory authority of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and because its implementation violated administrative law,” according to CNN.
The Biden administration on Monday evening confirmed that travelers will not be required to wear a mask pending a review of the ruling.
“The agencies are reviewing the decision and assessing potential next steps. In the meantime, today’s court decision means CDC’s public transportation masking order is not in effect at this time,” an administration official said.
“Therefore, TSA will not enforce its Security Directives and Emergency Amendment requiring mask use on public transportation and transportation hubs at this time. CDC recommends that people continue to wear masks in indoor public transportation settings.”
Alaska Airlines announced that masks would be optional for travelers and employees alike. United Airlines quickly followed suit. American Airlines, Delta Airlines, or Southwest Airlines, the three carriers with the most passenger’s pre-pandemic, also made masks optional on Monday night.
The one caveat is that masks may be required on international flights if required by the arrival country.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki called it a “disappointing” decision and said the CDC was still reviewing the ruling while encouraging Americans to continue wearing masks while traveling.
When pressed on whether travelers were currently required to wear masks, Psaki said they were waiting for guidance from the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security. Psaki added, “We would say to anyone sitting out there, ‘We’d recommend to wear masks on the airplane.’”
Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy asked Psaki to explain why masks on mass transit make sense when people haven’t had to wear masks at most indoor venues, including the White House briefing room, for nearly two months. “This is based on health considerations and data that the CDC looks at about transmissibility, as we’ve seen an increase in cases on airplanes,” Psaki replied.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: BLOOMBERG