Federal Judge invalidates mask mandate for planes and public transit

St. Petersburg — A federal judge revoked Monday’s national mask mandate for public transportation and planes. According to an administration official, the Transportation Security Administration will not enforce it. U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, Tampa, revoked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requirement that covered airplanes and public transport. She said the mandate was beyond the jurisdiction of U.S. officials.

That means the CDC’s public transportation masking order is not in effect at this time, and the TSA won’t enforce the requirement while federal agencies are reviewing the judge’s decision, the administration official said.

    .Multiple airlines allow passengers to go maskless following a judge’s ruling.

    The decision also said the CDC improperly failed to justify its decision and did not follow proper rulemaking under the Administrative Procedure Act.

    ” The judge stated that the mask mandate is beyond the CDC’s statutory authority. It also violates agency rulemaking procedures under the APA. The court vacates and remands the mandate to the CDC.

    The CDC recently extended the mask mandate, which was set to expire on April 18, until May 3 to allow more time to study the BA.2 omicron subvariant of the coronavirus that is now responsible for the vast majority of cases in the U.S.

    The Trump-nominated judge also wrote that the court “accepts the CDC’s policy determination that requiring masks will limit COVID-19 transmission and will thus decrease the serious illnesses and death that COVID-19 occasions” but “that finding by itself is not sufficient to establish good cause.” The mask requirement for travelers has been the subject of months-long lobbying by the airlines who wanted to eliminate it. Air filters that prevent the transmission of the virus on planes are effective, according to carriers. The mandate was also opposed by Republicans in Congress.

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

    ” The CDC suggested that the order be extended for an additional two weeks to allow the CDC to evaluate the most recent science, in accordance with its duty to protect American citizens,” Jen Psaki, White House Press Secretary, said Monday afternoon. This is a very disappointing decision. The CDC recommends wearing a mask when using public transportation. This decision was made this afternoon. The Department of Homeland, who will be implementing, and the CDC would review it. Of course, any litigation decisions would be decided by the Department of Justice. “

    — CBS News’ Rob Legare and Kathryn Krupnik contributed to this report

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