St. Petersburg, Florida — The Transportation Security Administration won’t enforce the national mask mandate on airplanes and public transportation for now after a federal judge struck it down Monday, according to an administration official.
US District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle in Tampa struck down the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requirement that it cover airplanes and other forms of public transportation, saying the mandate exceeded the authority of US health officials. USA
That means the CDC’s public transportation masking order is not in effect at this time, and the TSA will not enforce the requirement while federal agencies review the judge’s decision, the administration official said. The CDC still encourages the use of masks on public transportation.
The decision also said that the CDC improperly failed to justify its decision and failed to follow proper regulation under the Administrative Procedure Act.
“The court finds that the mask mandate exceeds the statutory authority of the CDC and violates the procedures required for agency regulation under the APA,” the judge wrote. “Consequently, the court vacates the mandate and returns it to the CDC.”
The CDC recently extended the mask mandatewhich was set to expire on April 18, until May 3 to allow more time to study the BA.2 omicron subvariant of the coronavirus that is now responsible for the vast majority of cases in the US.
The Trump-nominated judge also wrote that the court “accepts the CDC’s policy determination that requiring masks will limit the transmission of COVID-19 and thus decrease severe illness and death from COVID-19.” “, but “that the finding alone is not sufficient to establish good cause.”
The mask requirement for travelers was the subject of months of lobbying by airlines, which tried to end it. The carriers argued that effective air filters on modern planes make transmission of the virus during a flight highly unlikely. Republicans in Congress also fought to end the term.
Critics have seized on the fact that states have rolled back rules requiring masks to be worn in restaurants, stores and other indoor settings, yet cases of COVID-19 have dropped dramatically since the omicron variant hit its stride. maximum in mid-January.
“The CDC has recommended continuing the order for an additional time, two weeks, so that it can assess the latest science consistent with its responsibility to protect the American people,” White House press secretary Trump said Monday afternoon. Jen Psaki. “So obviously this is a disappointing decision. The CDC continues to recommend wearing a mask on public transportation. As you know, this just came out this afternoon, so at this time, the Department of Internal Affairs that would be implementing and the CDC are reviewing the decision. And, of course, the Justice Department would make any decision on the litigation.”
— Rob Legare, Kathryn Krupnik and Kathryn Watson of CBS News contributed to this report