Joe Biden’s administration is sensationally trying to bring back the mandatory wearing of masks on airplanes. The Federal mask mandate was initially dropped nearly a year ago, in April 2022, when a Florida judge struck it down, but Biden’s government officials are trying to bring it back.
On Tuesday, the Justice Department argued the case before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In the USA, the Justice Department is responsible for enforcing federal law, so their involvement suggests a real possibility that masks could be mandatory on flights once again.
The move by the Justice Department has come from left field. A couple of months ago, Biden himself declared that the Covid pandemic was “over,” so why his administration is looking to bring back a mask mandate is anyone’s guess.
Additionally, he has referenced the lack of masks in the past as a positive indication of the state of the disease. He was caught on camera back in September before a pre-taped CBS interview saying, “if you notice, no one’s wearing a mask, everybody seems to be in pretty good shape.”
News That Hasn’t Gone Down Well
To say the news hasn’t gone down well with Senators and airlines would be putting it lightly. For airlines, the thought of having to try and enforce a mask mandate on passengers who blindly refuse isn’t one they thought they’d have to worry about again.
There will also be many members of airline staff who won’t want to wear a mask themselves. Having a mandate put in place, which means they will have to enforce a rule they disagree with, could put them in a compromised position.
If the mandate is reinstated, then airlines will be facing the worst concerning a drop in interest. If, for example, you have to wear a mask or a plane but don’t on another mode of transport, passengers may choose to find alternatives to air travel which could put airlines out of pocket and even out of business.
Florida Representative Brian Mast took to Twitter on Tuesday to let his thoughts be known on the situation. He said, “if you want to wear a mask on a plane, no one’s stopping you, but we’re not going back to mandates, period.”
Meanwhile, Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennesse called out the hypocrisy of Joe Biden’s actions. She posted: “Joe Biden has said that the pandemic is over. Yet his administration is still arguing in court to reinstate the mask mandate.”
In addition to pursuing a renewal of the mask mandate, Biden also extended the national emergency declaration until April. This suggests that he still believes there is significant work to be done regarding the disease.
The Negative Travel News Continues
It’s been a rough couple of weeks for air travel in the USA, and this latest development won’t help improve the mood across the sector. Firstly, there was the issue with thousands of Southwest Airlines flights being canceled over Christmas before further problems since the turn of the year.
Last week, the Federal Aviation Administration encountered a systems glitch that temporarily grounded all flights in the US. The investigation into what caused the glitch is still ongoing, with many speculating about a possible cyber attack.
Then, yesterday it was announced that security checks will be ramped up for flights from Los Angeles to London due to cannabis smuggling. A quiet February is most definitely what airlines are looking for.