“A federal judge in Florida has voided the national mask mandate covering airports, planes and other public travel,” the Associated Press reported on Monday.
“The decision Monday by U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle in Tampa also said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention improperly failed to justify its decision and did not follow proper rulemaking,” the report added.
This is the judge that struck down the national mask mandate.
The judge who just overturned the mask mandate on airplanes is Kathryn Kimball Mizelle. 35-years-old, former Clarence Thomas clerked, appointed by Trump and confirmed by the Senate right before the lame duck session ended in 2020. pic.twitter.com/lu6ck1FIvT
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) April 18, 2022
The Tampa court’s ruling can be read in full below:
The judge’s conclusion that the CDC’s mandate exceeded the agency’s authority is provided below:
The CDC recently extended the mask mandate until May 3, althought it was set to expire on April 18. The excuse provided was that the CDC needed more time to study the BA.2 omicron subvariant of the coronavirus.
In late March, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced a federal lawsuit against mask mandates for public transportation. The governor has referred to the general public wearing masks as, “COVID theater.”
Ahead of the March 19th expiration of the mask mandate for airplane, train, and other public transportation travelers, the Transportation Security Administration has decided to extend it.
“The Transportation Security Administration is extending a federal requirement that travelers wear masks on airplanes, at airports, on trains and buses through April 18, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday,” CNBC reported.
“An extension of the mandate comes as the Biden administration, cities and states have rolled back mask mandates and other pandemic policies elsewhere as Covid cases drop,” CNBC noted.
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will work with government agencies to help inform a revised policy framework for when the mask rules can be lifted during this time,” a White House official told NBC News.
In December, a pair of airline CEOS had pushed back against the mask mandates. Apparently, their testimony wasn’t taken seriously in Washington.
Southwest Airlines CEO on masks:
"Masks don't add much, if anything." pic.twitter.com/WeTkYGlRS3
— The First (@TheFirstonTV) December 16, 2021
Southwest CEO Gary Kelly testified to the Senate that: “I think the case is very strong that masks don’t add much, if anything, in the air cabin environment. It is very safe and very high quality compared to any other indoor setting.”
Doug Parker, the American Airlines CEO, agreed with that assessment.
“I concur,” Parker said. “An aircraft is the safest place you can be. It’s true of all of our aircraft — they all have the same HEPA filters and airflow.”
The CDC continues to insist that cloth and surgical masks are effective, despite a plethora of national data that show this is not the case.
In late February, Senator Rand Paul vowed to fight the mask mandate for public transportation.
“U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) announced that he would force a vote on his resolution to repeal travel mask mandates on public transportation,” the senator said in a press release. “This vote will take place when the U.S. Senate returns to session.”
“Since March 2020, unelected bureaucrats have incessantly declared that we should ‘follow the science.’ But the same bureaucrats continue to defy science by imposing an ineffective and restrictive mask mandate for individuals traveling on public transit and airplanes. As the entire world is learning to live with COVID, the federal government still uses fear mongering to stubbornly perpetuate its mandates, rather than giving clear-eyed, rational advice on how to best protect yourself from illness. That is why I am forcing a vote to repeal travel mask mandates on public transportation and put a stop to this anti-science, nanny state requirement,” said Dr. Paul.
“Dr. Paul has been a leading advocate against mask mandates. He previously introduced the Travel Mask Mandate Repeal Act of 2021, and continues to be outspoken against mandates,” the statement added.
This is a breaking news story. It will be updated as more information is forthcoming.
OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.