St. Petersburg, Florida – The Transportation Security Administration will not enforce the nationwide mask mandate on planes and public transit for now after a federal judge overturned it on Monday, according to an administration official.
U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle in Tampa struck down the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s requirement covering airplanes and other public transportation, saying the warrant was beyond the authority of U.S. health officials.
This 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 official said. ‘administration. The CDC still encourages masking on public transportation.
The ruling also said the CDC wrongly failed to justify its decision and failed to follow through with developing the proper rules under the Administrative Procedure Act.
“The court finds that the mask mandate exceeds the CDC’s statutory authority and violates the procedures required for the agency’s rulemaking under the APA,” the judge wrote. “As a result, the court cancels the warrant and returns it to the CDC.”
The CDC recentlywhich was due to expire on April 18 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
The Trump-appointed judge also wrote that the court “accepts the CDC’s policy decision that requiring masks will limit transmission of COVID-19 and thereby reduce serious illness and death from COVID-19″ but ” this finding by itself is not sufficient to establish good cause.”
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. .
“The CDC has recommended extending the order for an additional two weeks so that it can assess the latest scientific data consistent with its responsibility to protect the American people,” the White House press secretary said Monday afternoon. Jen Psaki. “So it’s obviously a disappointing decision. The CDC continues to recommend mask-wearing on public transportation. As you know, that just came out this afternoon, so right now the Homeland Department who would implement and the CDC review the decision and of course the Department of Justice would make all decisions regarding litigation.”
– Rob Legare, Kathryn Krupnik and Kathryn Watson of CBS News contributed to this report