Tampa, FL – Monday’s ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle in a case brought in Florida federal court by Health Freedom Defense Fund, Inc. and frequent air travelers Ana Daza and Sarah Pope against the administration is being met with mixed reactions across the country.
Some travelers are celebrating as airports and airlines dropped their mask requirements. But confusion also accompanied the enthusiasm as some airports and airlines were slow to announce whether they would continue to enforce the mandate or flip-flopped on whether they would follow the ruling.
United and Delta both lifted the mask requirement for domestic flights. United also said the change in policy would apply to “select international flights” – while Delta saying masks would also be optional on “most international flights.” Southwest and American Airlines also nixed the mask requirement for travelers and employees, but did not specify if the switch extended to international flights.
Some airports such as Raleigh-Durham, Miami and Portland have confirmed that they will no longer be enforcing mask requirements per local TSA directives, but San Francisco says it will continue to comply with the TSA security directive until they hear otherwise. The Port Authority — which operates JFK Airport, LaGuardia Airport, Newark Airport, Teterboro Airport as well as the Port Authority Bus Terminal and PATH rail system has not made any announcement regarding the mandate suspension. And in New York City, subway and bus riders have been instructed to keep their masks on.
Other airlines making the mask optional for passengers include: Alaska, Jet Blue, Southwest, Allegiant, Hawaiian, Spirit, and Frontier. The mask mandates have been in effect for domestic airlines for two-years of the Covid-19 period in spite of strong opposition by various scientists and medical professionals claiming they cause more harm than good and were not effective in any disease prevention effort.