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U.S. Will No Longer Enforce Mask Mandate on Airplanes, Trains after Court Ruling

Selasa, 19 April 2022 | 15:30 WIB
U.S. Will No Longer Enforce Mask Mandate on Airplanes, Trains after Court Ruling

ILUSTRASI. U.S. President Joe Biden replaces his face mask after delivering remarks at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 15, 2021. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Sumber: Reuters | Editor: Thomas Hadiwinata

KONTAN.CO.ID - WASHINGTON/CHICAGO, April 18 (Reuters) - The Biden administration will no longer enforce a U.S. mask mandate on public transportation, after a federal judge in Florida on Monday ruled that the 14-month-old directive was unlawful, overturning a key White House effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Soon after the announcement, all major carriers including American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines, as well as national train line Amtrak relaxed the restrictions effective immediately.

Last week, U.S. health officials had extended the mandate to May 3 requiring travelers to wear masks on airplanes, trains, and in taxis, ride-share vehicles or transit hubs, saying they needed time to assess the impact of a recent rise in COVID-19 cases caused by the airborne coronavirus.

Industry groups and Republican lawmakers balked and wanted the administration to end the 14-month-old mask mandate permanently.

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The ruling by U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, an appointee of President Donald Trump, came in a lawsuit filed last year in Tampa, Florida, by a group called the Health Freedom Defense Fund. It follows a string of rulings against Biden administration directives to fight the infectious disease that has killed nearly one million Americans, including vaccine or test mandates for employers.

Judge Mizelle said the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had exceeded its authority with the mandate, had not sought public comment and did not adequately explain its decisions.

A U.S. administration official said while the agencies were assessing potential next steps, the court's decision meant CDC's public transportation masking order was no longer in effect. The administration could still opt to appeal the order or seek an emergency delay in the order's enforcement.

"Therefore, TSA will not enforce its Security Directives and Emergency Amendment requiring mask use on public transportation and transportation hubs at this time," the official said in a statement. "CDC recommends that people continue to wear masks in indoor public transportation settings."

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The Transportation Security Administration said it will rescind the new Security Directives that were scheduled to take effect on Tuesday.

The ruling comes as COVID-19 infections rise again in the United States, with 36,251 new infections reported on average each day, and 460 daily deaths, based on a seven-day average - the highest number of reported total COVID-19 deaths in the world.

The White House called the ruling "disappointing."

The CDC first issued a public health order requiring masks in interstate transportation in February 2021. The TSA issued a security directive to enforce the CDC order.

The CDC and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) declined to comment.

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