Twenty-one states have brought a lawsuit on Tuesday, demanding that a federal rule requiring passengers to wear masks on aircraft, buses, subways, and other forms of public transportation be repealed immediately.
The action plan, which itself is primarily lattest effort led by Republicans, is the newest attempt to repeal the requirement, which was enacted in February 2021, just after President Biden took office.
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The mandate has been extended till April 18 this month. Plaintiffs seek vacatur of the mask requirement and a permanent injunction against its implementation, citing the government’s “outright disregard for the boundaries on its power, especially when it comes to the COVID-19 epidemic.”
This same lawsuit names the same directors of both the CDC, the Transportation Security Administration, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Homeland Security as plaintiffs.
In recent weeks, the CDC changed its masking recommendations, and states have generally abandoned masking restrictions in public places. One of the most high-profile federal pandemic-related laws remaining in force is indeed the mask mandate for transportation settings. The mask rule has already been extended to also include air travel and public transportation.
In recent days, a drive to repeal the mandate has gained traction, even among groups who previously backed it. Executives from ten companies, including American Airlines, United Airlines, and Delta Air Lines, wrote to Biden last week requesting him to halt pandemic-related travel rules, such as the mask mandate. The American Public Transportation Association also wrote to the White House this month, urging the government to reconsider its mask policy.
The order is described as “arbitrary and capricious” in a new 30-page lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, which also blasts the Biden administration’s justification as “paper thin.” The federal mask mandate should be repealed, according to airline CEOs.
It claims that the requirement infringes on states’ freedom to create their own regulations, and that governments have been obliged to spend resources to enforce it or face fines. The lawsuit also claims that while adopting the mandate, the CDC did not examine “lesser alternatives.” The complaint claims that the CDC should have assessed which modes of transportation are most likely to contribute to interstate spread.
“Instead, the CDC evaluated interstate flights and buses bringing children to day care as though they both posed the same risk of spreading COVID-19 over state boundaries.” In a statement released Tuesday, the TSA stated that it will not comment on ongoing lawsuits. Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Homeland Security did not reply to requests for comment.
The Biden administration stated in announcing the mask requirement until April 18 that the CDC will work with the TSA to evaluate whether adjustments to the protocol are necessary.
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia are among the 21 states that have filed suit.
The mask requirement is waived for children under the age of two and persons with specific impairments. The CDC is working on a “new policy framework” for facial coverings, according to the agency.
As more Americans have gotten immunizations and booster doses, the number of COVID-19 cases has decreased. The virus, though, continues to be a menace. As of this week, approximately 27,000 new cases each day have been documented, with nearly 700 individuals dying each day from the coronavirus.
Many states and localities have already repealed COVID-19 limitations, citing a decrease in incidence and hospitalizations in their communities. In light of this trend, the states’ lawsuit claims that the CDC should discontinue its mandate. “Even lockdown states, like as California, have lately declared the termination of their mask regulations. Despite this, the CDC maintains its mandate unapologetically “According to their lawsuit.
Last Monday, CEOs from all major US airlines urged Biden to repeal the federal transportation mask rule as well as the international COVID-19 pre-departure testing requirement. The lawsuit says that the Biden administration “continues to apply a faulty interpretation of a quarantine legislation,” that the regulation is arbitrary and capricious, and that it goes beyond the CDC’s jurisdiction.
It also “violates state law in locations like Florida, where laws against forced masking have been enacted.” Several challenges have been filed against the Biden administration for its approach to COVID-19 regulations, with officials in Florida leading the effort. Florida sued the Biden administration in October over a coronavirus vaccination requirement for government contractors.