Transportation

TSA not enforcing travel mask mandate after judge strikes it down

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is no longer enforcing the federal government’s mask mandate for travel after a federal judge in Florida struck down the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) directive.  

“The agencies are reviewing the decision and assessing potential next steps,” a Biden administration official said. “In the meantime, today’s court decision means CDC’s public transportation masking order is not in effect at this time.” 

“Therefore, TSA will not enforce its Security Directives and Emergency Amendment requiring mask use on public transportation and transportation hubs at this time,” the official said.  

The TSA said in a statement late Monday that it would no longer implement a directive by the CDC to extend the mandate for two weeks, which would have taken effect Tuesday.

The Biden administration is still encouraging travelers to wear masks on public transit in order to protect against COVID-19 in the wake of Monday’s ruling. But those who do not wear face coverings on planes and other modes of public transportation will not face consequences.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters earlier Monday that the ruling was “disappointing” and that the administration was reviewing the decision.  

The Justice Department would make any decision on litigation, she said. The administration could choose to appeal the ruling.

Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, an appointee of former President Trump, voided the CDC’s mandate earlier on Monday, writing that the agency exceeded its statutory authority with the order requiring mask use on planes, trains and other forms of public transit.  

The ruling came just days after the CDC extended the mandate for 15 days through May 3. In extending the mandate, the agency said it was reviewing the impact of a recent rise in COVID-19 cases.  

Updated 10:15 p.m.

Tags Biden Jen Psaki Joe Biden mask mandate Trump TSA

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