WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — A judge in Florida struck down the federal mask mandate that applied to air travel and mass transit but the sudden change in rules is creating confusion.
The Biden administration hasn’t made a decision on whether to appeal that decision just yet, but officials say it will depend on whether the CDC decides it’s necessary or not.
The Transportation Security Administration is not currently enforcing the federal mask mandate after the judge’s ruling.
“Let’s just call it what it is — chaos for the skies, chaos for train stations and subways,” said James Hodge, a law professor at Arizona State University.
Hodge says the sudden change is creating confusion, especially since some airports are in cities where indoor or mass transit mask rules are still in place.
“The question right now is who’s in charge of those facility-related mask requirements,” he said.
When asked whether travelers should continue to mask up on planes, President Joe Biden said, “That’s up to them.”
For now, Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra urges Americans — especially those with pre-existing conditions — to continue masking while traveling and commuting.
“I’ll respect the ruling, but I follow the science,” Becerra said.
While private businesses can still require masks, most major airlines have stated they are dropping mask mandates following the court ruling.
“Some people should still wear their mask because they are at more risk, because they are immune-compromised or something else. But for most of us we appreciate the freedom,” one traveler said.
“I was glad that a lot of people had the mask on and they did not take it off,” another traveler said.
But once you arrive in a city where mask mandates are in place and you leave the airport, the rules can change. The rules could also be different if you’re travelling internationally.
Because of the inconsistencies and changing rules, travelers should carry masks on them just in case.