Florida Federal Judge Strikes CDC’s Travel Mask Mandate - What It Means For California Employers
On April 18, 2022, a Federal District Court struck down the CDC’s Mask Mandate that had required masking during travel throughout the United States concluding that the order exceeded the CDC’s statutory authority and failed to adequately explain its decisions.
The Transportation Security Agency (TSA) announced it would not enforce masking on public transportation or in transportation hubs.
Masking requirements for travel within California may still be required by local governments or transportation agencies. The California Department of Public Health has not updated its masking guidelines which continue to indicate a masking requirement by reference to the CDC’s Mask Mandate. Another example is the unchanged Los Angeles County Public Health Order (LACPHO) of March 23, 2022 which expressly requires masking “i) on public transportation (examples: airplanes, ships, ferries, trains, subways, buses, taxis, and ride-shares), [and] (ii) in transportation hubs, (Examples: airport, bus terminal, marina, train station….)”. The LACPHO does not reference reliance on the CDC’s Mask Mandate.
Further, it is not clear whether the Biden Administration will appeal the ruling, in part, perhaps, because the Mask Mandate, following recent short extensions was scheduled to expire on May 3, 2022.
We expect to get more clarification in the coming days and weeks. Meanwhile, employers concerned about masking requirements in conjunction with transportation issues should contact a CDF lawyer for advice.