Masks will no longer be required on airplanes for U.S. flights.
A federal judge in Florida struck down the national mask mandate covering airlines and other public transportation on Monday. A Biden administration official confirmed the news in a statement to multiple media outlets.
“Therefore, TSA will not enforce its Security Directives and Emergency Amendment requiring mask use on public transportation and transportation hubs at this time,” the official added. “CDC recommends that people continue to wear masks in indoor public transportation settings.”
Prior to many flights, and in some cases mid-flight, some airline crews announced that passengers no longer had to wear masks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, prompting many people to applaud.
A video from a Delta DAL, +3.12% flight announced that the company would be making mask-wearing “optional” after the mandate was lifted.
According to a local report from FOX Los Angles, one JetBlue JBLU, +3.87% crew member informed the passengers aboard his flight that, “you may remove your mask,” leading to some cheers.
To be clear, if you wear a mask on a train or plane, while others don’t, it will still offer some protection against COVID, according to the CDC.
United Airlines UAL, +4.08% said in a statement that masks would no longer be required on domestic flights and certain international flights.
“While this means that our employees are no longer required to wear a mask – and no longer have to enforce a mask requirement for most of the flying public – they will be able to wear masks if they choose to do so, as the CDC continues to strongly recommend wearing a mask on public transit,” United said.
In the wake of the mandate being lifted, many COVID-19 experts were not happy over the response from passengers and the mandate being lifted in general.
“I think that this is unfortunately going to come back to bite us, because we’re not necessarily doing the types of things we should be doing,” Dr. Kavita Patel, a physician who served as a health policy director in the Obama administration, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” in an interview.
The news comes as COVID cases are on the rise after their steep decline earlier in 2022. The U.S. is averaging 39,152 cases a day, per the New York Times tracker, up 43% from two weeks ago.
Confirmed cases of COVID currently rising in 35 of the 50 states.