Florida, 20 Other States Challenge Plane Mask Rule

CDC mandate is set to expire April 18
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 29, 2022 4:58 PM CDT
21 States Challenge CDC Travel Mask Rule
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a news conference in Miami earlier this year.   (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

(Newser) – Florida and 20 other states sued Tuesday to halt the federal government's requirement that people wear masks on planes, trains, ferries, and other public transportation amid the coronavirus pandemic. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Tampa, Florida, contends that the mask mandate exceeds the authority of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the AP reports. "It is well past time to get rid of this unnecessary mandate and get back to normal life," said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican who has long challenged federal mask mandates.

A CDC rule effective Feb. 1, 2021, requires "the wearing of masks by people on public transportation conveyances or on the premises of transportation hubs," according to the agency website. The rule has been relaxed somewhat, to end requirements for certain buses and so forth, but was recently extended until at least April 18 for domestic and international travel in general. Still, Florida and the other states are pressing on with their lawsuit, which comes amid a partisan divide over the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and issues of government control versus individual rights.

The lawsuit seeks to immediately halt the CDC travel mask rule and asks for costs and attorneys' fees. There have been similar lawsuits filed in individual states before this latest one. Besides Florida, the states filing the new travel mask lawsuit as of Tuesday were: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia.

(Read more mask mandates stories.)

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