A Florida Judge has ruled that the CDC mask mandate is unconstitutional.
Today, passengers traveling on many airlines might be surprised to see most people not wearing the usually required masks. That change is because the Biden administration has decided not to enforce their mask rule after a Florida judge ruled it unlawful.
U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle for the Middle District of Florida called the policy "unlawful" and ruled that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had overstepped its legal authority by imposing the mandate in February 2021. According to Mizelle's ruling from Tampa, Florida, the mask requirement "violates the procedures required for agency rulemaking."
Following that ruling, the White House said the "decision means CDC's public transportation masking order is not in effect at this time." The CDC had recently renewed the travel mask mandate extending it through May 3.
According to a Biden administration official, "TSA will not enforce its Security Directives and Emergency Amendment requiring mask use on public transportation and transportation hubs at this time."
The trade association Airlines for America issued the following statement: "U.S. airlines have been strong advocates for eliminating pandemic-era policies and are encouraged by lifting the federal transportation mask mandate."
According to NBC News, several airlines, including United, Delta, American, and Alaska, issued statements saying masks are now optional.
Amtrak also announced that masks would no longer be required on trains.
The lawsuit was brought by two women, Ana Carolina Daza and Sarah Pope, along with the Health Freedom Defense Fund, a Wyoming nonprofit group that has challenged the Covid vaccine and mask mandates in other parts of the country. Their suit alleged that the CDC mandate was "arbitrary and capricious," since it gave exemptions to certain groups — like children under two years old — but not others.