HOUSTON, Texas – The US Department of Justice announced Wednesday that it is appealing a ruling striking down the mask mandate for public transportation handed down by a federal judge in Florida earlier this week.
“In light of today’s assessment by (the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) that an order requiring masking in the transportation corridor remains necessary to protect the public health, the Department has filed a notice of appeal,” DOJ spokesman Anthony Coley tweeted.
The federal order handed down by US District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle on Monday struck down the Biden administration’s mask mandate for planes, trains, buses and other public transportation. It took effect immediately, even for passengers in mid-flight during the announcement.
The CDC also released a statement on Wednesday saying “to protect CDC’s public health authority beyond the ongoing assessment…CDC has asked DOJ to proceed with an appeal.”
The CDC’s mask order for travelers was set to expire on May 3, and the appeal is expected to carry out the original mandate.
“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,” said the agency.
The DOJ’s announcement helps bring more certainty to the Biden administration’s course of action. Experts say the purpose of the appeal is to ensure the CDC’s legal authority if it needs to reimpose the mandate in the future if a more dangerous Covid-19 variant occurs.
The Justice Department said it would not request a stay during the appeals process, meaning masks will not be required on public transportation until a ruling is made. (Anadolu)