A federal judge’s decision which was to set down a national mask mandate was met with cheers on some airplanes but the concern about whether it is really time to end one of the most visible vestiges of the COVID-19 pandemic was also there.
On Monday, the major airlines and many of the busiest airports have rushed to drop their requirements after the Transportation Security Administration announced that it would not enforce a January 2021 security directive which was applied to airplanes, airports, taxis and other mass transit.
The ruling has still given those entities the option to keep their mask rules in place that has resulted in directives, which could vary from city to city.
For instance, Passengers on a United Airlines flight from Houston to New York, can now ditch their masks at their departing airport and on the plane, but they have to put them back on once they land at Kennedy Airport or take a subway.
In a 59-page lawsuit ruling, the U.S. District Judge, Kathryn Kimball Mizelle in Tampa said that the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention have overstepped its authority for the issue of the original health order on which the TSA directive was based.
Mizelle, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, said that the only remedy was to throw out the mandate for the entire country as it would be impossible to end it only for the people who objected in the lawsuit.
The White House also said that the mask order is not in effect at this time and also they called the court decision disappointing.
The Justice Department has also declined to comment on whether it would seek an emergency stay to block the judge’s order.
United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and also Alaska Airlines all have quickly announced that they were yanking the mask requirement for domestic and some international flights. Same was done by the American Airlines, Southwest Airlines and JetBlue Airways.
Sleepy passengers on a Delta flight between Atlanta and Barcelona, Spain, cheered, whistled and applauded when a flight attendant has announced this news mid-flight over the ocean.
The attendant said in a video posted by Dillon Thomas, a CBS Denver reporter, who was also on the flight that no one is any happier than they are.
She also added that people who wanted to keep on their masks were encouraged to do so. Also, she thanked and said happy unmasking day.
Major airports dropped their requirements but sided with the CDC who recommended that people can be voluntarily masked. They also included Los Angeles International Airport, which is the world’s fifth-busiest by passenger volume, and Salt Lake City International Airport that has announced it would hand out masks to anyone who requests them.
New York City’s public transit system planned to keep its mask requirement in place and also the websites of ride sharing companies, such as Lyft and Uber, on Monday evening said that masks were required.
The wearing of masks aboard airplanes sparked online flame that was thrown between those who felt that they were crucial to protecting people and also to those who saw it as an unnecessary inconvenience or even government overkill.
Some flight attendants had found themselves cursed and were even attacked by the passengers who have refused to comply.
The lawsuit that was filed in July 2021 by two plaintiffs and the Health Freedom Defence Fund, which described in the judge’s order as a non-profit group that it opposes laws and regulations that will force individuals to submit to the administration of medical products, procedures and devices against their will.
Republicans in Congress has waged a running battle to kill the mandate.