(Reuters) – A Florida judge said on Monday that a US public transportation worm mandate is illegal, which overturns a Biden administration effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Last week, US health officials extended by 15 days the mandate requiring travelers to wear masks on airplanes, trains and in taxis, carpools or transit hubs, and said they needed time to assess the impact of the recent increase in covid-19 cases.
The ruling by U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, a President-elect Donald Trump, came in a lawsuit last year in Tampa, Florida, by a group called the Health Freedom Defense Fund.
Judge Mizelle said the CDC had exceeded its authority with the mandate, had not sought public comment and did not explain its decisions adequately.
The Transportation Security Administration and the Federal Aviation Administration declined to comment. The White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did not immediately comment.
The CDC first issued a public health order requiring masks in intergovernmental transport in February 2021. The TSA issued a safety directive to enforce the CDC order.
The judge sent the question back to the CDC. It was not clear if the judge’s decision would take effect immediately.
Industry groups and Republican lawmakers wanted the administration to immediately end the 14-month-old worm mandate last week.