ATLANTA — The Centers for Disease Control has asked the Department of Justice to appeal the latest federal court ruling that struck down masking requirements on public transit and in airports.
On Monday, a federal judge in Florida ended the sweeping mandate, which required face coverings on planes and trains and in transit hubs, Justice Department spokesman Anthony Coley said Tuesday officials believe that the federal mask order was “a valid exercise of the authority Congress has given CDC to protect the public health.”
Coley said that if the CDC recommends appealing the ruling, the Department of Justice will appeal it. At this time, it is unknown if the DOJ has filed the appeal.
Following mass confusion, Illinois aligned with the federal judge’s decision and dropped its public transit and airport mask mandate. The CTA and other agencies quickly followed.
Earlier this month, the federal transportation mask mandate was extended through May 3. The reason was for the CDC to have more time to study the BA.2 omicron subvariant — which is now responsible for a vast majority of U.S. cases.
Read their full statement below.
To protect CDC’s public health authority beyond the ongoing assessment announced last week, CDC has asked DOJ to proceed with an appeal in Health Freedom Defense Fund, Inc., et al., v. Biden, et al. It is CDC’s continuing assessment that at this time an order requiring masking in the indoor transportation corridor remains necessary for the public health. CDC will continue to monitor public health conditions to determine whether such an order remains necessary. CDC believes this is a lawful order, well within CDC’s legal authority to protect public health.
CDC continues to recommend that people wear masks in all indoor public transportation settings. CDC’s number one priority is protecting the public health of our nation. As we have said before, wearing masks is most beneficial in crowded or poorly ventilated locations, such as the transportation corridor. When people wear a well-fitting mask or respirator over their nose and mouth in indoor travel or public transportation settings, they protect themselves, and those around them, including those who are immunocompromised or not yet vaccine-eligible, and help keep travel and public transportation safer for everyone.