The US Department of Justice asked a three-judge panel in an appeals court to reverse the April 2021 ruling by a Florida district court judge that found the CDC’s public transportation and travel mask mandate was unlawful on Tuesday, January 17.
According to Reuters, this new appeal comes after the European Union began recommending face masks for passengers flying from China to member countries earlier in the month, citing China’s major outbreak following the end of the country’s zero-COVID policy and its reopening for travel.
Currently, travelers from China are required to present a recent negative COVID-19 test result to visit the country.
Brian Springer, a Justice Department Lawyer, focused on reinstating the CDC’s ability to put the travel mandate back in place without giving the public time to comment on the mandate, saying that such a mandate would be necessary “to prevent the possible infections and deaths that could result if people didn’t do the simple thing of just putting on a mask while they were traveling.”
The public transportation and mask mandate was first put into place by the CDC during the first days of the Biden administration in January 2021, then was repealed just four months later. The CDC had recommended the travel mask mandate well before, but was blocked from putting it in place by the Trump administration.
It’s likely that if the travel mask mandate ban is overturned, planes heading to and from China will be the first to be donning masks as part of a federal mandate once again, though if there is another significant wave of COVID-19 infections in the U.S., this could extend to all domestic flights or to both domestic and international flights.
For the latest travel news, updates and deals, be sure to subscribe to the daily TravelPulse newsletter.