A federal district court in Florida has vacated the CDC’s mask mandate for travelers. The court concluded that the CDC had exceeded its statutory authority, violated the notice and comment procedures required for rulemaking under the Administrative Procedures Act (APA), and acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner.
The ruling comes one week after the CDC had, once again, extended the mandate, this time until May 3. The mask mandate was one of the first actions taken by the new Biden administration. One day after his inauguration, President Biden issued Executive Order No. 13998, directing executive-branch agency heads to require “masks to be worn in compliance with CDC guidelines in or on” airplanes, airports, trains, intercity buses, boats, and on other forms of public transportation.
Two weeks later, the CDC published the “Requirement for Persons To Wear Masks While on Conveyances and at Transportation Hubs.” The order stated that mask wearing is “one of the most effective strategies available for reducing COVID-19 transmission” and required masks when traveling on any type of conveyance into or within the United States and at transportation hubs.