Earlier this week, a federal judge from Florida ruled that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s existing mandate requiring masks on public transport was unconstitutional, striking it down. Many travel agencies, especially airlines, immediately made masks optional on their services, with some even announcing the change mid-transit.
However, the ruling has not sat well with either the CDC or the US Department of Justice, who have announced their intent to appeal the ruling and extend the mask mandate.
“It is CDC’s continuing assessment that at this time an order requiring masking in the indoor transportation corridor remains necessary for the public health,” the CDC said in a statement. “CDC will continue to monitor public health conditions to determine whether such an order remains necessary. CDC believes this is a lawful order, well within CDC’s legal authority to protect public health.”
The DOJ has not requested a stay to reimplement the mandate, but they are intending to bring the matter up to a higher court. In addition to maintaining COVID-19 safety measures in the midst of re-rising case numbers, this appeal is also being made to ensure that the CDC’s authority on matters of public healthy is not needlessly diminished.
The DOJ will appeal the recent mask ruling by a federal judge https://t.co/Brn6YUwbgV
— NPR Health News (@NPRHealth) April 20, 2022
“That’s important for two reasons: One because we think it’s entirely reasonable, as does the Department of Justice, for the CDC, the health and data experts – health experts most importantly in our administration – to be able to have that time to evaluate. But also because they want to fight to ensure the CDC’s authority and ability to put in mandates in the future remains intact,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told CNN.
“We know there’s going to be ups and downs in this pandemic, we’re all ready for it to be over. But we want to ensure that our public health experts are able to take steps, if needed, in the future.”