TAMPA (WFLA) -The Transportation Security Administration is no longer enforcing the federal government’s mask mandate for travel. A federal judge in Florida struck down the national mask mandate covering airlines and other public transportation Monday.
Following the announcement, three major U.S. airlines, Delta Airlines, United Airlines and Alaska Airlines said Monday they’ll no longer require travelers or employees to wear face coverings on domestic and some international flights.
Delta first said it would follow the TSA, then announced masks were optional for passengers and crew later Monday night.
“Delta employees and customers may continue wearing masks if they so choose,” a statement said. “ Wearing a well-fitting mask protects the wearer, even if others around them are not wearing masks.”
Alaska Airlines also made face masks optional on flights.
“Face masks have been like boarding passes for nearly two years — you couldn’t fly without one. But, as of today, masks are optional in airports and onboard aircraft, effective immediately,” the airline said in part.
Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, an appointee of former President Trump, voided the CDC’s mandate earlier Monday, writing that the agency exceeded its statutory authority with the order requiring mask use on planes, trains and other forms of public transit.
In a news release, Southwest Airlines said its employees and customers “will be able to choose whether they would like to wear a mask, and we encourage individuals to make the best decision to support their personal wellbeing.”
Tampa International Airport will also not be required to wear a mask. In a statement obtained by WFLA, “Passengers, employees and guests are no longer required to wear masks or face coverings in any of the facilities or terminals at TPA.”
The ruling came just days after the CDC extended the mandate for 15 days through May 3. In extending the mandate, the agency said it was reviewing the impact of a recent rise in COVID-19 cases.