One passenger with a mask, and one without. (photo via getty images / SolStock)
The United States Department of Justice announced it would appeal a federal judge’s decision to void the public transportation mask mandate after officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found the restrictions are still necessary to keep travelers safe.
According to Reuters.com, the Justice Department filed its notice to appeal to the 11th Circuit Court, but details of the case and if the agency intends to seek an emergency order to reinstate the requirement were not revealed.
On Wednesday, the CDC said the “order requiring masking in the indoor transportation corridor remains necessary for the public health,” and asked the Justice Department to proceed with the appeal.
The CDC recently extended the nationwide mask requirements for public transportation through May 3, but the decision was voided when U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle said the agency “improperly failed to justify its decision and did not follow proper rulemaking.”
In response to the court ruling, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said it would no longer enforce the mask mandate on public transportation. Airlines also quickly dropped the mask mandate.
U.S. Travel Association Executive Vice President Tori Emerson Barnes issued the following statement on the CDC and Justice Department’s decision:
“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.”
“Masks were critically important during the height of the pandemic, but 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.”