The White House said Monday that a recent Florida court ruling means that for now the travel mask mandate “is not in effect at this time” — meaning people are free to lift their masks while on an airplane.
The Transportation Security Administration said Monday night it would not enforce the mandate, either.
“TSA will no longer enforce its Security Directives and Emergency Amendment requiring mask use on public transportation and transportation hubs,” the TSA said in a release.
Why did the federal mask mandate stop?
On Monday, a federal judge in Florida overturned the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s mask mandate for public transit and airplanes.
U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle ruled that the mandate — created by the Biden administration — “was unlawful because it exceeded the statutory authority of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and because its implementation violated administrative law,” according to CNN.
The Justice Department could attempt to block the ruling by filing an appeal.
“This is obviously a disappointing decision,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters, per The Associated Press. “The CDC is recommending wearing a mask on public transit.”
Does the TSA enforce mask policies?
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said it would no longer enforce the mask mandate either, according to The Hill.
“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.
Which airlines require masks?
So far, airlines across the country have started to lift mask restrictions.
“It has been a long 24 months with nearly constant change. I could not be prouder of our frontline employees who have handled every pivot focusing on safety and the care we’re known for,” Max Tidwell, vice president of safety and security at Alaska Airlines, said in a statement Monday, per The Seattle Times. “We’re also thankful for our guests who remained considerate, patient and stood by us throughout every twist and turn.”
Delta Airlines said masks are now optional for employees and customers following the White House announcement.
Alaska Airlines and United Airlines also dropped their mask mandates.
American Airlines dropped its mask policy.
Allegiant Air has not updated its policy yet.
Southwest Airlines also dropped its mask requirement.
Is there still a federal travel mask mandate?
The Biden administration originally extended the mask mandate — set to end April 18 — until May. White House officials said they would use the time to “monitor for any observable increase in severe virus outcomes as cases rise in parts of the country,” per AP.