THE U.S. DEPARTMENT of Justice will appeal the recent court ruling that overturned a federal mask mandate on public transportation. In response, the U.S. Travel Association (usta) said that the mandate is simply out of step with the current public health landscape.
Last week, U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle in Tampa ruled that the CDC had overstepped its authority in issuing the mask mandate. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asked the DOJ to appeal the ruling.
In a statement on April 20, the CDC said that an order requiring masking in the indoor transportation corridor remains necessary for the public health. CDC will continue to monitor public health conditions to determine whether such an order remains necessary, it added.
“CDC continues to recommend that people wear masks in all indoor public transportation settings. CDC’s number one priority is protecting the public health of our nation. As we have said before, wearing masks is most beneficial in crowded or poorly ventilated locations, such as the transportation corridor,” the health agency said.
“In light of today’s assessment by @CDCgov that an order requiring masking in the transportation corridor remains necessary to protect the public health, the Department has filed a notice of appeal in Health Freedom Defense Fund, Inc., et al., v. Biden, et al,” Anthony Coley, DOJ’s director of public affairs tweeted on April 21.
While reacting to the development, USTA in a statement reiterated that mask usage on public transportation should be an individual choice.
“We have long stated that mask usage on public transportation should be an individual choice, and we were pleased to hear President Biden echo that sentiment this week—especially as the CDC’s own guidance advises that the overwhelming majority of Americans do not need to wear masks in indoor public settings,” said Tori Emerson Barnes, USTA’s executive vice president of Public Affairs and Policy.
Masks may have been needed during the height of the pandemic, but Barnes said that is no longer the case.
“With low hospitalization rates and multiple effective health tools now widely available, from boosters to therapies to high-quality air ventilation aboard aircraft, required masking on public transportation is simply out of step with the current public health landscape,” Barnes added.