Federal judge strikes down US mask mandate for planes and other travel

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — A federal judge in Florida has struck down the nationwide mask mandate covering airplanes and other public transportation as beyond the authority of U.S. health officials even amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Monday’s decision by U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle in Tampa, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, also said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention failed to wrongly justify their decision and did not had not followed the development of the appropriate rules.

In her 59-page ruling, Mizelle said the only recourse was to overturn the rule entirely because ending it would be impossible for the limited group of people who opposed it in the lawsuit.

“Because our system does not permit agencies to act unlawfully even in pursuit of desirable ends, the court declares unlawful and voids the mask warrant,” she wrote.

The CDC recently extended the mandate for the mask, which was due to expire on Monday, until May 3 to allow more time to study the BA.2 omicron subvariant of the coronavirus which is now responsible for the vast majority of cases in the United States. United.

The mask requirement for travelers has been the target of months of lobbying by airlines, which have sought to kill it. Carriers have argued that effective air filters on modern planes make transmission of the virus during a flight highly unlikely. Republicans in Congress also fought to kill the mandate.

Critics have seized on the fact that states have rolled back rules requiring masks in restaurants, stores and other indoor settings, yet COVID-19 cases have fallen sharply since the omicron variant peaked in mid-January. .

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.


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