A federal judge from Florida has revoked the White house’s mask mandate on planes and other transport, calling it unlawful. As such, United, Delta, American and Alaska have all removed their mask requirements.
Mask Mandate Dropped
The Biden administration will no longer enforce face coverings on public transport after a Florida judge ruled the directive unlawful. All major US carriers have now removed their mask requirements, including United Airlines, Delta Airlines, American Airlines and Alaska Airlines. The news comes just one week after the national mask mandate was extended to end on May 3rd.
The ruling was issued yesterday by Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, who said the Centers Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had exceeded its authority in issuing the mandate. In the US, Federal Judges can issue rulings that block national government policy. Judge Mizelle, an appointee of President Donald Trump, found that the CDC had improperly invoked something known as the “good cause exception”, allowing them to skip public notice and comment on the decision. Judge Mizelle stated:
“Because our system does not permit agencies to act unlawfully even in pursuit of desirable ends, the Court declares unlawful and vacates the Mask Mandate.”
The lawsuit was first brought forward in July 2021 by the conservative group Health Freedom Defense Fund (HFDF) and two Florida residents who said the face-covering increased their anxiety and panic attacks.
Following the ruling, the US transportation Authority and the TSA dropped their mask requirements, and the major airlines announced they would no longer enforce face coverings on domestic flights.
The result airlines wanted
American carriers groaned last week when the White House announced a further extension of the mask mandate. The issue has been hotly contested, with much lobbying from airlines and other industry groups. Since the order was first introduced in February 2021, airlines have seen a dramatic increase in passenger violence. There have been more than 7,000 incidents of ‘unruly passenger’ behaviour in that time, of which 70% related to mask compliance. Consequently, airlines have urged the government to let passengers make their own decisions on mask-wearing, but without much success. The latest ruling will come as a great relief to many in the industry.
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