On April 18, 2022, the federal judge for the Middle District of Florida claimed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) exceeded its authority by enforcing the national mask mandate. As a result, the mask requirement was invalidated for public transportation. The Biden administration is currently reviewing the judge’s decision and will determine whether to appeal.
Only a week prior, the CDC extended the requirement until May 3 in an effort to limit the spread of the Omicron subvariant, BA.2. Notably, COVID-19 cases have increased 39 percent from two weeks ago.
As a result of the court order, individual transit authorities and airlines can determine whether to enforce mask-wearing or not. JetBlue, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and Alaska Airlines have all stated that mask-wearing will be optional. Similarly, Amtrak will not require passengers or employees to wear masks on its trains. It is important to note that individuals who wish to continue masking, may do so.
The CDC can no longer enforce masking, but the organization still strongly recommends individuals mask in enclosed public transportation settings. Individuals, especially those planning to travel, are encouraged to monitor guidance from states, localities, and individual businesses to stay compliant. Please note that this topic is subject to change, and Creative Benefits, Inc. will continue to provide updates as more information becomes available.