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Tampa Federal Judge Ends Mask Mandate on Planes

TAMPA Fla. – If you're tired of wearing a mask when flying onboard commercial airlines, then you'll applaud today's decision by a Federal Judge to block the Centers for Disease Control extension of mandatory masks on public transportation.

Middle District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle ruled that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) order to extend the mandate until May 3rd violates the Administrative Procedure Act by making decisions outside the scope of their authority.

Judge Kimball explained that the CDC has the power to enforce regulations that prevent the spread of communicable diseases from foreign countries into the United States, but that masks do not fall under the statutory definition. The law allows the CDC to utilize "inspection, fumigation, disinfection, sanitation, pest extermination, destruction of animals, etc.," however, masks were listed as being "sanitation," and Judge Kimball says, "Wearing a mask cleans nothing."

Judge Kimball cited several other errors in the CDC's defense of the measure, stating, ""The CDC's failure to explain its reasoning is particularly problematic here. At the time when the CDC issued the Mandate, the COVID-19 pandemic had been ongoing for almost a year and COVID-19 case numbers were decreasing," Mizelle wrote. "This timing undercuts the CDC's suggestion that its action was so urgent that a thirty-day comment period was contrary to the public interest."

The CDC mask mandate expires today.

It is unknown if the White House will take action against Judge Kimball's decision.


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