A US judge on Monday declared the seemingly mandatory use of a mask on public transport illegal in the United States, prompting airlines to immediately update their rules after weeks of fierce court battles.
Tampa, Florida Magistrate Katherine Kimball Mizzell ruled that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) — the top federal health agency — overstepped its authority in enforcing the requirement, which would have applied to planes, trains, subways and buses. Is. , among others. ,
Shortly thereafter several US airlines announced that masks would no longer be mandatory, at least not on their domestic flights.
United Airlines said the change would take effect “immediately” on its domestic flights and some international flights within the United States, in accordance with each country’s arrival rules.
“This means that our employees will no longer be required to wear a mask or put one on passengers in most cases, but will be able to use one if they wish, as the CDC strongly recommends wearing a mask on public transportation,” he said. Happened. One. A spokeswoman for the American group, which was one of the first to require its employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
American Airlines and Delta made similar announcements. A “well-fitted” mask protects the person wearing it, even if those around them don’t wear one,” notes Delta.
The company also cited the issue of passengers refusing to wear masks in a statement. “Some customers whose behavior was particularly aggressive will continue to veto, even after the mask rule is over,” he said.
In recent weeks, pressure has mounted on Democrat Joe Biden’s government to relax or repeal the measure.
About 20 Republican-led states and several major airlines had called for an end to mandatory mask use on planes and other forms of public transportation.
But last week, federal officials decided to extend the requirement until at least May 3 because of a spike in infections.
The White House considers the judge’s decision “disappointing,” said spokesman Jan Psaki. “CDC continues to recommend the wearing of masks on public transportation,” he said.
According to a senior presidential official, the decision “means that the CDC’s order to wear masks on public transportation is not in effect at this time.”
Therefore, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will not enforce the requirement, he said on condition of anonymity.