The U.S. Department of Justice on Wednesday appealed a federal judge’s ruling which rejected face mask mandates for passengers on public transportation. On Monday, U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle ruled in Tampa, Fla., that the mask mandate enacted more than a year ago is unconstitutional. The DOJ filed the appeal in a Florida district court following a recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), which states that masking on transportation “remains necessary for the public health.”
Justice Department spokesman Anthony Coley said in a statement on Tuesday: “The Department continues to believe that the order requiring masking in the transportation corridor is a valid exercise of the authority Congress has given CDC to protect the public health. That is an important authority the Department will continue to work to preserve.”
Following the ruling on Monday, the CDC updated the guidance on its website to indicate agency “continues to recommend that people wear masks in indoor public transportation settings at this time.” New cases of COVID-19 have been ticking upward ater the last of the statewide indoor mask mandates was lifted on March 12. Philadelphia reinstated its mask mandate on Monday; and other areas of the U.S. are watching carefully to see if they will follow suit.
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