Justice Dept. appealing court decision ending mask mandate

Coronavirus

(NewsNation) — The Justice Department is appealing a federal judge’s ruling that voided the federal mask mandate on planes and in public transportation settings, officials said.

According to reports, the notice of appeal was filed in federal court in Tampa.

The appeal comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged the Department of Justice to appeal the court decision that removed COVID-19 face mask requirements on mass transit.

The agency said it is their “continuing assessment that at this time an order requiring masking in the indoor transportation corridor remains necessary for the public health.”

It’s unclear if President Biden would request an emergency stay from the appeals court to immediately reimpose the mask mandate on public transit or not.

According to White House press secretary Jen Psaki, President Biden is still encouraging people to wear masks when traveling even though she says people are not legally bound to wear them.

“It is a point in time where it is up to people – it is their choice, in that regard,” Psaki said.

Meanwhile, the CDC insists the mandate is “a lawful order, well within CDC’s legal authority to protect public health.”

A federal judge in Florida on Monday struck down the mask mandate for transportation. Following the ruling, the Transportation Security Administration announced it will no longer enforce mask mandates. Several major airlines also dropped mask requirements, making mask wearing optional during flights.

The mask mandate for mass transit was set to expire Monday, but the CDC had extended it until May 3. The agency said they wanted more time to study the BA.2 omicron subvariant that now represents the majority of COVID-19 cases in the country.

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