Today, a federal trial court invalidated the Biden administration’s mask mandate for airplanes and other public transport methods. The decision rules that the mandate was unlawful because it exceeded the legal authority of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and was promulgated without complying with the requirements of federal administrative law.
The ruling means that – for now, at least – the Transportation Security Agency will no longer enforce the mask requirement. The administration is mulling an appeal, which I think would stand a good chance of reversing the lower court ruling. There have have been a number of prior lawsuits seeking to overturn the mask rule. This case is the first one to hold that the CDC’s requirement was unlawful.
The CDC recently extended the mask requirement to May 3. The goal of the extension was to gather more information and understanding of the BA.2 variant of the coronavirus. Covid-19 cases in the US are rising.
The mask requirement on planes was originally implemented by U.S. airlines (not the government) in 2020 as a confidence-boosting measure to get more passengers to buy plane tickets. The Biden administration made it a federal rule in 2021. Several major U.S. carriers, including United and Delta, have announced they will no longer require masks effective immediately. Airlines expect that now they can make more money without the rule.
Just because masks aren’t required doesn’t mean people can’t wear them. I have a domestic trip coming up this weekend and plan to wear a mask on the plane and when in close contact with people on the ground.
If you choose to wear a mask, I recommend wearing one that provides good protection. KN95 masks block 95% of particles the size of SARS-CoV-2. Where I live, KN95s are easy to obtain.
I like these masks because the straps fit over your ears rather than being secured behind your head as with N95 masks. That makes them easier to put on and take off, and KN95s don’t mess up my hairdo.😊
Every time we start to think the Covid threat is over, the virus lets us know it has other ideas. The good news is treatments for Covid-19 are improving. Still, I’d rather not get sick or unintentionally make someone else sick.