The United States has announced that it will drop the mask mandate on public transportation after a federal judge in Florida ruled that the mask mandate was unlawful, overturning a key White House effort to reduce the spread of Coronavirus.
All major carriers including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines have also eased the restrictions effective immediately. However, some still encourage travellers to continue wearing masks in recognition that the pandemic era is not over yet.
“TSA will not enforce its Security Directives and Emergency Amendment requiring mask use on public transportation and transportation hubs at this time. CDC recommends that people continue to wear masks in indoor public transportation settings.”Transportation Security Administration
Last week, the Biden administration decided to extend the mask mandate for air travel for at least 15 days to May 3, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (CDC)
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agencies were assessing potential next steps, the court’s decision meant CDC’s public transportation masking order was no longer in effect.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.
The Transportation Security Administration said it will rescind the new Security Directives that were scheduled to take effect on Tuesday.
How the US Airlines Responded?
All major US Airlines have swiftly responded to the drop of the face mask mandate. Although agencies are reviewing the decision and assessing potential next steps, airlines swiftly advised their passengers to make the best decision, with United Airlines saying “the choice is yours.”
“Effective immediately, masks are optional for all airport employees, crew members and customers inside US airports and onboard all aircraft domestically, as well as on most international flights.”Delta Air Lines
American Airlines also issued a statement stating that the face masks will no longer be required at US airports and on domestic flights. However, it clearly mentioned that “face masks may still be required based on local ordinances, or when travelling to/from certain international locations based on country requirements.”
Southwest, Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air also announced the same and also encouraged passengers to make the best decision to support their personal well-being.
What about the airline’s “No-Fly” List?
Although the mask mandate is dropped, airlines including Alaska Airlines said that the unruly passengers who have been put on “no-fly” lists for refusing to comply with face mask requirements will remain banned.
More than 7,000 unruly passengers have been put on the no-fly list since January 2021.