Aviation

US axes mask requirements for airlines and public transport

Passengers flying within the US or using public transport are no longer required to wear a mask following a federal court ruling in Florida.

The news came less than a week after the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had extended the mask requirement on aeroplanes, trains, buses and other public transport through to 3 May.

Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump, voided the mandate on 18 April, leaving the decision to enforce mask requirements up to airlines and public transport companies.

By Monday evening, the nation’s largest airlines and rail systems had dropped mask requirements for both passengers and workers according to the New York Times.

The CDC’s mask mandate had been in place since 3 February 2021.

According to Mizelle’s ruling, by July 2021 Sarah Pope, Ana Daza and Health Freedom Defense Fund had sued various government officials and the CDC, accusing the mandate of being unlawful and have it set aside for violating the administrative procedure act.

On Monday, the court decided the mask mandate exceeded the CDC’s statutory authority and violated procedures required for agency rulemaking.

There has been a sharp rise in the amount of unruly passenger incidents recorded in the US since the beginning of the global pandemic.

Last year, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) clocked 5,338 reports of disruptive passengers, with a majority (3,856) handed out to passengers who refused to comply with the country’s mask mandate.

In 2020, the FAA recorded 693 incidents, almost eight times less than last year. The year before, in 2019, it only recorded 183.


Featured image: iStock/xavierarnau



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