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Justice Department to Challenge Decision on Mask Mandate

Recently, a federal judge in Florida invalidated the existing mask mandate by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that required masks on public transportation, deeming it unconstitutional. Following this ruling, several travel companies, particularly airlines, promptly made masks optional on their services, with some announcing the change while flights were in progress.

Nevertheless, both the CDC and the US Department of Justice have expressed their dissatisfaction with the ruling and declared their intention to appeal and uphold the mask mandate.

In a statement, the CDC asserted, “It is our ongoing assessment that mandating masks in indoor transportation settings is crucial for public health at this time. We will continue to monitor public health conditions to decide on the necessity of such an order. We believe this mandate is lawful and falls well within our legal authority to safeguard public health.”

Although the DOJ has not sought a stay to reinstate the mandate, they are set on taking the matter to a higher court. Aside from preserving COVID-19 safety protocols amidst a resurgence in cases, this appeal aims to ensure that the CDC’s authority in public health matters is not unjustly undermined.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki spoke about the significance of this move, stating, “This is important for two reasons: firstly, we believe it’s completely reasonable for the CDC, comprising health and data experts – particularly health experts in our administration – to have the opportunity to assess. Secondly, they are striving to uphold the CDC’s authority and capability to implement mandates in the future.”

She added, “We anticipate there will be fluctuations in this pandemic; we all long for its end. However, we want to ensure that our public health experts can take necessary actions in the future if required.”

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