Federal mask authorization: CDC asks Justice Department to appeal ruling on airports, public transportation
The announcement comes minutes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asked the Justice Department to appeal a decision made by a federal judge in Florida earlier this week.
An appeal notice was filed Wednesday in federal court in Tampa.
The CDC said in a statement that it “continues to evaluate that at this time, the order to require masks in indoor corridors is still necessary for public health.”
It remains unclear whether the Biden administration will ask the appeals court for an emergency stay to immediately re-impose the mask-wearing mandate on public transit. The emergency stay under the lower court ruling will be an unexpected time for tourists and transport workers. Most airlines and airports, many public transit systems and even car-sharing company Uber lifted their mask-wearing requirements within hours of Monday’s ruling.
A federal judge in Florida overturned the national mask-wearing rule for public transit on Monday, prompting airlines and airports to quickly rescind their requirement that passengers wear a scarf. masked. The Transportation Security Administration said Monday that it will no longer enforce the mask requirement.
The CDC recently extended the mask mandate, which was set to expire on Monday, until May 3 to give more time to study the omicron BA.2 subvariable, which is now responsible for the majority of the masks. case in the United States. But Monday’s court ruling postponed that decision.
The CDC said it will continue to monitor public health conditions to determine if the mission is still necessary. It said it believes the mandate is “a legitimate order, within the legal jurisdiction of the CDC to protect public health.”
Justice Department spokesman Anthony Coley said Wednesday night that the department is filing an appeal “following today’s assessment by the CDC that the order requiring face coverings in transportation corridors remains necessary to protect public health.” .”
The Biden administration has issued mixed messages following Monday’s ruling. While officials said Americans should heed CDC guidance even if it’s no longer a requirement, Biden himself suggested they should be more flexible about wearing face coverings during transit.
“It’s up to them,” Biden declared during a visit Tuesday to Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The White House continues to require face coverings for those traveling with him on Air Force One, citing guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday that Biden still encourages Americans to wear masks when traveling and that he had “literally answered the question” a day earlier.
“People are not legally bound to wear masks,” she said, following the court order. “So it’s a moment that’s up to the individual – it’s their choice, in that respect.
After a winter spike fueled by an omicron variant that sent record hospitalizations, the United States has seen a dramatic drop in the spread of the virus in recent months, leaving most States and cities waive the requirement to wear masks.
But several Northeast cities have seen an increase in hospitalizations in recent weeks, prompting Philadelphia to resume its mask-wearing mandate.
The appeal has drawn criticism from the American Travel Association, which, along with other industry groups, has pressured the Biden administration for months to end travel masking regulations.
“Masks are critically important during the height of the pandemic, but given the low hospitalization rates and wide range of tools available,” said Tori Emerson Barnes, executive vice president of public affairs and corporate policy. Effective medical care is now widely available, from boosters to therapy to high – quality air ventilation systems, face coverings required on public transport simply is out of step with the current public health situation. ”
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https://abc7news.com/justice-department-mask-mandate-appeal-cdc-masks-planes/11776149/ Federal mask authorization: CDC asks Justice Department to appeal ruling on airports, public transportation