Biden administration will appeal mask mandate ruling if CDC deems it necessary – National
The Justice Department said on Tuesday it would not appeal a federal district judge’s ruling that ended the nation’s federal mask regulation on public transit unless Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believe the request is still necessary.
In a statement released a day after a Florida judge concluded his duty to track face covering requests on planes, trains and at transit hubs, Justice Department spokesman Anthony Coley said officials The official believes the federal masking order is “a valid act of Congress. awarded CDC to protect public health. ”
This is “an important authority that the Department will continue to work to preserve,” he said.
Coley said the CDC has said it will continue to assess public health conditions, and that if the agency determines a mandate is necessary for public health, the Justice Department will file an appeal.
Hours earlier, President Joe Biden responded to a question about whether travelers should continue to wear masks on planes by saying “it’s up to them.”
Biden’s statement contradicts his administration’s official guidance.
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White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki noted that shortly before Biden’s comments, the CDC still advised people to wear masks on public transit.
“We are continuing to encourage people to wear masks,” Psaki told reporters aboard Air Force One.
After landing in New Hampshire, a short time later, Biden, asked if people should continue to wear masks on planes, said: “It’s up to them.”
A US official said Monday’s court decision, made in response to a lawsuit filed last year in Tampa, Florida, means the CDC’s order to cover up masks on public transport is no longer in effect. force anymore.
It comes as COVID-19 infections are on the rise in the United States and more than 400 people are dying daily from the disease, based on the latest seven-day average.
The ruling follows a series of rulings against the Biden administration’s directives to combat the infectious disease that has killed nearly 1 million Americans, including vaccination or COVID testing duties for employers. labor.
“Public health decisions should not be made by the courts. They should be taken by public health professionals,” said Psaki.
– with files from Reuters
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