Feds to Appeal Ruling Ending Mask Mandate for Travel

Aaron Gould Sheinin

April 20, 2022

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The US Department of Justice (DOJ) said Wednesday that it will appeal a Florida judge's ruling Monday blocking the Biden administration's mandate that masks be worn on airplanes, trains, and buses.

The department's decision follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) determination that a mask mandate "remains necessary to protect the public health," according to a DOJ spokesperson.

The CDC said Wednesday in a statement that it 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 mandate, enacted in February 2021, is unconstitutional because Congress never granted the CDC the power to create such a requirement, US District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle said in her order issued Monday.

The DOJ had said it would file the appeal only if the CDC said it was necessary.

Mizelle's decision has roiled American travel, as her order was celebrated by many passengers tired of dealing with masks and mandates and by airlines and crew tired of playing mask police in midair, but criticized by many public health experts who worry we've become complacent to the virus.

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