The Department of Justice indicated Wednesday it will appeal a ruling by a U.S. District Court judge setting aside an extension of the federal mask mandate on public transportation.
The Justice Department decided to proceed with the appeal after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requested it after Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle’s ruling on Monday. The Associated Press reported that a notice of appeal was filed Wednesday in a federal court in Tampa.
The CDC said in a statement that its “continuing assessment that at this time an order requiring masking in the indoor transportation corridor remains necessary for the public health.” The CDC’s rationale for extending the mask requirement to May 3, from April 18, had to do with its study of the effects of the omicron variant.
Since Mizelle’s ruling, many airlines and airports, public transit systems such as Metro in the Washington, D.C. region, as well as the Amtrak train corporation, and ride-sharing companies such as Uber have lifted their mask-wearing requirements. Plus, the Transportation Security Administration said it would no longer enforce the mask mandate.
When asked whether people should continue to wear masks while riding public transit, President Biden said Tuesday “that’s up to them.”
Clarifying the president’s point, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said mask-wearing when traveling is still encouraged.
“People are not legally bound to wear masks,” she said, AP reported. “So, it is a point in time where it is up to people — it is their choice, in that regard.”