Travel Mask Mandate No Longer In Effect

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About two weeks ago, a district judge in Florida struck down the nearly 14-month-long mask mandate on transportation, focusing especially on planes, trains, buses, and other public transportation. Almost immediately after the announcement was made, all major airline carriers announced to current passengers that the restrictions had been lifted, effective immediately. 

Now, it still seems that there are more questions than answers regarding public transportation and mask mandates: how did this action come to happen and how long will this new policy last?

A few days before the transportation announcement, U.S. health officials extended the mask mandate to May 3, saying that they needed time to “assess the impact caused by a recent rise in COVID-19 cases caused by the airborne coronavirus”. But even with that, the mandate was removed almost instantaneously with just one ruling. 

The new ruling was made by a U.S. District Judge from the Middle District in Florida named Kathryn Kimball Mizelle who was appointed by former President Donald Trump. This ruling did not come out of the blue; it was a ruling made following a string of decisions by that same district, which ostensibly combatted President Biden’s policies on the virus. 

Even with this new ruling in effect, the Biden administration will likely appeal the decision, citing that the CDC still stands firm in their message of wearing masks indoors in a public setting. 

I would rather [the mandate] stay, personally, a little bit longer.”

— Cleveland Passenger

Some questions that still remain unanswered include whether local transportation will keep their mandates in place despite the ruling. Several smaller transit agencies have stated that no matter what, they will keep their mandates in place.  

“I would rather [the mandate] stay, personally, a little bit longer,” a passenger flying out of Cleveland mentioned to a reporter from a local radio station in the area. The passenger also said that she will still continue to wear her mask whenever she is in the airport. 

Reactions to this ruling are very mixed, some think that this is not the time to remove these mandates as COVID cases have risen to approximately 36,000 cases per day and about 460 deaths per day. The White House has also come out to give a statement on the matter saying it is “disappointing” to see. 

On the other hand, some people are very enthusiastic about the change saying that, on their trips, they’ve found no issues going maskless.

 “We were relaxed all the way there, it’s not a bother for us to wear it,” one airline passenger said to a USA Today reporter. Other members of her family feel the same as well, her daughter saying she felt better without the mask and more normal or how it was before.

No matter the method of travel, the Bulldog Tribune wishes all passengers safe travels now and in the future.