A federal judge has ruled that the CDC’s mandate requiring masks on planes and in airports is unlawful. Effectively immediately, it’s been overturned.
The shock ruling deemed the federal mandate “arbitrary” and effectively lacking in explanation as to why these air travel related venues differed to other indoor venues.
The matter will now be referred back to the CDC and the Biden Administration. An appeal will be lodged, or the ruling will stand. We’ll soon know.
“Because ‘our system does not permit agencies to act unlawfully even in the pursuit of desirable ends,’ the court declares unlawful and vacates the mask mandate,”Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, US District Court Judge
With massive confusion in planes, trains, busses and airports today as a result of the ruling, here’s what you need to know for your upcoming travels, and when things may truly change with clarity. Hopefully, soon!
Airlines Make Masks Optional
Initially, it seemed as if airlines would wait to find out how The Biden Administration and CDC would respond to the court ruling, but that went out the door fast. Within just minutes, US airlines launched “masks optional” messages.
This includes; American, Alaska, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest and United.
Airlines have anxiously awaited, and argued for, the federal government to end the mask mandates. Delta was among the first to issue a statement. Mask optional airlines now include; American, Alaska, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest and United. Hawaiian says it will hold onto its mask policy, for now.
Following the ruling of a U.S. district court judge on Monday, the Biden administration announced that the Transportation Security Administration will no longer enforce the federal mandate requiring masks in all U.S. airports and on board aircraft. Effective immediately, masks are optional for all airport employees, crew members and customers inside U.S. airports and on board all aircraft domestically, as well as on most international flights.Delta Airlines
Will The Biden Administration And CDC Appeal?
The Biden Administration previously extended the federal mask mandate by 15 days, ahead of the intended April 18th expiration date. May was going to be the earliest date for masks to drop.
If not for the new federal court ruling striking the mask mandate down, masks would still be required on planes and in airports for at least 15 more days by federal law. The TSA has also announced that it won’t enforce the overturned mask rules, per the court ruling.
There’s growing debate about whether the Biden Administration and CDC will appeal the mandate, or take a page out of the old political playbook of deniability and let let it draw to a close. If they didn’t end it, they “can’t take blame” if things go wrong.
If the Biden Administration doesn’t challenge the federal ruling, the administration could claim that their health measures were shunted by the USS judicial system and therefore any future spikes or case rises wouldn’t be on their hands.
Challenging the ruling could cause further confusion and risk losing public support.
Federal Mask Mandate Is Over, Masks Optional
The TSA says it won’t enforce a mask policy. Airlines have now come out saying masks are optional. Add it all up, and masks are now optional on domestic US flights and on most international flights in both directions.
Just for the sake of an on time flight, respect the choices of others in the airport and on the plane. Don’t berate people over wearing one, or not, if they so choose to.