coronavirus pandemic

Boston Travelers Split After CDC Mask Mandate Voided By Federal Judge

Many travelers at Boston's Logan Airport were wearing a mask Monday evening, most unaware they are no longer required to do so

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The Transportation Safety Agency will not be enforcing the national mask mandate for public transportation after a federal judge in Florida ruled it overstepped its legal authority.

It’s now up to each company to decide whether to require masks – at least for now.

Many travelers at Boston's Logan Airport were wearing a mask Monday evening, most unaware they are no longer required to do so.

The CDC had recently extended the mask mandate for public transit, which was set to expire Monday, until May 3 to allow more time to study the BA.2 omicron subvariant of the coronavirus now responsible for the vast majority of cases in the U.S.

“What this court has said is that the mandate coming from the CDC was improper,” said attorney Michael Coyne. “It does not limit the ability of private agencies and entities to do what they might want.”

Amtrack said it’s not requiring mask wearing, but strongly encouraging it.

United Airlines decided to lift the mandate on its employees and customers, while Delta told NBC10 Boston that it will follow whatever the TSA does.

The TSA issued a statement that read, “Due to today’s court ruling, effective immediately, TSA will no longer enforce its Security Directives and Emergency Amendment requiring mask use on public transportation and transportation hubs. TSA will also rescind the new Security Directives that were scheduled to take effect tomorrow. CDC continues to recommend that people wear masks in indoor public transportation settings at this time.”

The announcement from the TSA came hours after a federal judge in Florida ruled that the CDC overstepped its authority when it issued a mask mandate for public transportation.

But the court’s decision isn't convincing all travelers to ditch their masks just yet.

Courtney Koslow and her family will continue to wear them when traveling for now.

“Even though my glasses are fogging up, it feels safer to me so, I think our family will continue to wear masks,” Koslow said.

“To each is own,” said Maura Vogel. “And I think my own is safety first.”

On the opposite side, the Coggins family says it will ditch the masks if not required by a given company.

“I don’t see the point of enforcing it if its not as dangerous anymore. I mean, especially if you’re vaccinated and all that,” said Matthew Coggins.

“I feel like it’s nice, it’s like a little more free in a way I guess. And I like how it’s a personal choice so if there’s people that are so uncomfortable they can just put it on. So, personally I like it without it,” Gracie Coggins added.

The CDC and the TSA are still recommending the use of masks on public transit, and Coyne suggests travelers should still carry one with them given that the rules could change at any given time.

U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle has voided the national mask mandate covering airplanes and other public transportation.
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