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TSA: No More Mask Requirement on Planes, Public Transportation

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The Transportation Security Administration is no longer enforcing the federal government’s mask mandate for travel after a federal judge in Florida struck down the CDC’s directive.

Biden Administration officials said the administration may appeal the ruling, but in the meantime, masks won’t be required on airplanes or other modes of transportation.

“The agencies are reviewing the decision and assessing potential next steps,” a Biden administration official said. “In the meantime, today’s court decision means CDC’s public transportation masking order is not in effect at this time.”

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Therefore, TSA will not enforce its Security Directives and Emergency Amendment, which requires mask use on public transportation and transportation hubs, the official stated, according to a report by Morgan Chalfant, a reporter for

Some airlines announced that they would make mask wearing optional, according to reports.

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The Biden administration is still encouraging travelers to wear masks on public transit in the wake of Monday’s ruling. But those who do not wear face coverings on planes and other modes of public transportation will not be subject to consequences.

The Hawaii State Department of Transportation stated Monday that masks will not be enforced in state airports, though it recommended people continue wearing them in in-door hubs.

“Federal agencies are reviewing the decision and will provide future guidance so there may be further updates,” the department stated. “In the meantime, the CDC recommends that people continue to wear masks in indoor public transportation settings.”

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White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters earlier Monday that the ruling was “disappointing” and that the administration was reviewing the decision, the Hill reported.

The Justice Department would make any decision on litigation, she said. The administration could choose to appeal the ruling.

Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, an appointee of former President Trump, voided the CDC’s mandate earlier Monday, writing that the agency exceeded its statutory authority with the order requiring mask use on planes, trains and other forms of public transit.

The ruling came just days after the CDC extended the mandate for 15 days through May 3. In extending the mandate, the agency said it was reviewing the impact of a recent rise in COVID-19 cases.

Tom Hasslinger
Tom Hasslinger is a journalist who lives in Kailua-Kona. Prior to joining Big Island Now, he worked as the managing editor for West Hawaii Today and deputy editor for The Garden Island newspaper on Kauai. He's worked for over 15 years as a reporter for the Oahu-based Civil Beat news outlet, as well as in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho and Douglas Wyoming.
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