Just as some states such as Alabama, California, Georgia, and others have lifted their mask mandates, other states have taken action into their hands to move forward with removing the mandate as it pertains to public transportation. Today, according to NBC News, twenty-one states sued the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other federal agencies to end the country’s mask mandate on public transportation.
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida. It argues that the federal mandate exceeds the CDC’s authority and interferes with state laws banning forced masking. The CDC isn’t the only one named in the complaint. The federal Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Homeland Security, the Transportation Security Administration, and the heads of each agency are all listed as defendants.
Other states that have joined Florida in the suit include; Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis released a press release announcing the lawsuit stating, “Florida has led the nation in standing up to misguided federal government policies and fighting back against heavy-handed mandates that have no scientific backing.”
He continued, “If politicians and celebrities can attend the Super Bowl unmasked, every U.S. citizen should have the right to fly unmasked. It is well past time to get rid of this unnecessary mandate and get back to normal life.” Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody also spoke out about the suit, saying that it was long past time to alleviate some of the pressure on travelers and those working in the travel industry.
Initially, the CDC ordered that masks be worn on all forms of public transportation, including planes, trains, boats, and buses, as well as in all transportation hubs, such as airports and subway stations, in January 2021. However, the TSA announced that its mandate expires on April 18th. The CDC, TSA, HHS, and DHS declined to comment on the proceedings.