Biden on whether people should still wear masks on planes and trains: ’That’s up to them’

Comes after a court effectively nullified the mask mandate for travel on planes and trains

Eric Garcia
Tuesday 19 April 2022 20:15
Passengers celebrate as pilot allows them to ditch masks after Biden's mandate axed

President Joe Biden said that people should make their own personal choices about wearing a mask while traveling, after his administration said it would stop enforcing its mask mandate in response to a court nullifying the rule.

Mr Biden was asked about whether people should continue to wear masks when he was speaking in New Hampshire about infrastructure.

"That's up to them," he said.

US District Judge Kathryn Mizelle, who was nominated by former president Donald Trump to serve as on the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, concluded that the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s mandate that people wear masks while traveling on planes, trains or other public transit exceeded its authority.

In response, the Biden administration said it would no longer enforce the mandate.

“TSA will not enforce its Security Directives and Emergency Amendment requiring mask use on public transportation,” an official said on Monday evening. This came despite the fact that White House press secretary Jen Psaki lamented the ruling.

“This is obviously a disappointing decision,” she said.

So far, 21 states led by Republicans, along with flight attendants and pilots have urged courts to invalidate the mandate.

Many Democratic-led states have already lifted mask mandates and last month, many Democrats in swing state races voted to repeal the CDC’s travel ordinance. Among the senators who voted to repeal the travel mandate was New Hampshire Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan, who was at the event with Mr Biden to tout the bipartisan infrastructure law.

Ms Hassan is up for reelection in 2022 and also criticised Mr Biden’s rollback of Title 42, a Trump-era ordinance that was put in place during the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic that severely restricted immigration at the US-Mexico border.

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