US airlines announce plan to drop mask mandates

WION Web Team
Washington, United States Updated: Apr 19, 2022, 04:41 PM(IST)

However, the Airlines have warned that the travellers would still have to be subjected to local mask restrictions when they arrive at their respective destinations. Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

Following this court's ruling, United Airlines removed the mask mandates from domestic flights and select international flights, depending on the rules of the destination country

The COVID-19 mask mandates for public transit enforced by the Joe Biden administration were struck down by a US Judge on Monday, saying that these mask mandates exceed the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statutory authority.

CDC has extended the regulation of mask mandates on flights, trains, buses, taxis or any other mode of transportation until May 3, due to an increase in the number of covid cases.

This regulation was originally issued on February 3, 2021 by the CDC shortly after President Biden took office. The mandate has been criticised by US airlines and number of republican senators, who have called for its end.

Also read | US judge rejects Biden administration's mask mandate for public transport

Following this court's ruling, United Airlines removed the mask mandates from domestic flights and select international flights, depending on the rules of the destination country.

Soon United Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Airlines and Alaska Airlines followed suit, making masks optional for employees and passengers on domestic and international flights.

However, they along with United Airlines have warned that the travellers would still have to be subjected to local mask restrictions when they arrive at their respective destinations.

As a result of the court's decision, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which oversees airport security, has also decided not to implement guidelines "requiring mask use on public transportation and transportation hubs at this time," according to an administration official.

Watch | US judge strikes down CDC mask mandate amid Covid-19 surge

According to Alaska Airlines, this reversal of the mask mandates, however, did not invalidate any passenger bans made while the measure was till on. Customers who were already excluded for failing to comply with mask rule will be continued to be barred from the airline.

"We will have some guests whose behaviour was particularly egregious who will remain banned, even after the mask policy is rescinded," said the airline.

Also read | BA.2 Covid variant driving new infections in some parts of US

This comes as officials in some parts of the United States are still reporting a new surge in COVID-19 infections which is a matter of concern.

Last week the country recorded at least 126 new cases per 10,000 persons, more than twice the rate from a month earlier.

(with input from agencies)US

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