President Joe Biden’s administration conceded Monday that there is no longer a mask mandate for public transportation after a federal judge struck down the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) order.
Hours after District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle of Florida’s middle district issued her ruling, a Biden administration official noted that “agencies are reviewing the decision and assessing potential next steps.”
The official confirmed that “in the meantime,” the mask mandate for public transportation no longer applies.
“The agencies are reviewing the decision and assessing potential next steps,” the administration official said in a statement. “In the meantime, today’s court decision means CDC’s public transportation masking order is not in effect at this time.”
🚨 Admin official says “today’s court decision means CDC’s public transportation masking order is not in effect at this time.”
“TSA will not enforce its Security Directives and Emergency Amendment requiring mask use on public transportation and transportation hubs at this time.” pic.twitter.com/rz4gSGhyz0
— Shelby Talcott (@ShelbyTalcott) April 18, 2022
“Therefore, TSA will not enforce its Security Directives and Emergency Amendment requiring mask use on public transportation and transportation hubs at this time. CDC recommends that people continue to wear masks in indoor public transportation settings,” the statement concluded.
Mizelle was appointed by former President Donald Trump, and ruled that the mask mandate goes beyond the CDC’s statutory authority.
Earlier in the day, White House press secretary Jen Psaki was pressed about the announcement. At the time, she offered little clarity and reiterated that the CDC recommends wearing masks. Psaki also noted that the administration believes the order should remain in place.
“We’re continuing to recommend people wear masks. I don’t have any updates. This just came out,” Psaki said.
CBS’s @EdOKeefe: “Is the WH anticipating an announcement by Homeland Security tonight”
Psaki: “They are assessing it right now and as soon as they have an assessment and an update on additional steps, they’ll — they’ll make that available.” pic.twitter.com/oXzZCJ78QP
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) April 18, 2022
The Biden administration’s public transportation masking order was one of the last restrictions remaining from the COVID-19 global pandemic. The directive recently sparked backlash from several major airlines. (RELATED: The Biden Administration Is Ignoring The Science On Airplane Masking)
“Given that we have entered a different phase of dealing with this virus, we strongly support your view that ‘COVID-19 need no longer control our lives,’” a letter sent in March by the leaders of American Airlines, Delta, Southwest, JetBlue and other major companies read. “Now is the time for the Administration to sunset federal transportation travel restrictions … that are no longer aligned with the realities of the current epidemiological environment.”