The ruling suspends the mask-wearing rule on public transit nationwide because the judge says federal agencies have exceeded their authority.
A federal judge in the US state of Florida has ruled a United States government order requiring people to wear masks on public transportation reverses the Biden administration’s effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Is.
Last week, US health officials extended by 15 days a mandate requiring travelers to wear masks on airplanes, trains and taxis, ride-share vehicles or in transit hubs, saying they were not aware of the effects of the recent increase in COVID-19. Requires time to assess. 19 cases.
But a ruling on Monday by U.S. District Judge Katherine Kimball Mizzell said the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had exceeded its authority with the mandate, did not seek public comment, and passed the decision adequately. was not clarified.
Mizell’s decision comes in a lawsuit filed last year in Tampa, Florida by a group called the Health Freedom Defense Fund, which has challenged state and federal vaccine and mask mandates in courts across the country.
The CDC first issued a public health order requiring masks on interstate transportation in February 2021. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) issued a safety directive to enforce the CDC order.
In his 59-page ruling, Mizell said the only remedy was to completely vacate the rule nationwide because it would be impossible to eliminate it for the limited group of people who protested at the trial.
The judge said “a limited remedy will not be a remedy” and that courts have every right to make such a decision – even if the CDC’s goals in fighting the virus are laudable.
“Since our system does not allow agencies to act illegally even in pursuit of desirable objectives, the court declares unlawful and vacates the mask mandate,” she wrote.
The judge referred the issue back to the CDC. It was unclear whether the judge’s order would go into effect with immediate effect and the TSA’s mask order order still appears to be in effect.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, “What we announced last week was just for a two-week extension so that we can assess what we all see as rising cases and make an assessment.” Keeping this in mind, a recommendation is made.” A news briefing on Monday afternoon.
Of Judge Mizel’s decision, Saki said, “It’s disappointing, of course.”
Industry groups and Republican lawmakers wanted the Biden administration to immediately end the 14-month-old mask mandate last week. But the CDC said it wants more time to study the ba.2 omicron subvariant that is now spreading rapidly in the US.
The city of Philadelphia on Monday reimposed a local mandate requiring people to wear masks in all indoor public places such as restaurants due to rising infections.
Monday’s decision could lead to confusion on planes in Florida, where the mask mandate has led to an increase in incidents and changes amid airline executives enforcing the mandate and passengers rejecting demands to cover their faces.
The Federal Aviation Administration said that since January 2021, a record 7,060 passenger incidents have been reported – and 70 percent involve masking regulations.
Airlines for America, for example, urged the Biden administration to “learn in science and research that explicitly support the lifting of the mask mandate”.
“When masks are not recommended in places such as restaurants, bars or crowded sports facilities, there is no point in requiring masks on aircraft,” the group representing major US passenger airlines said. It had no immediate comment on Monday’s decision.