Florida Attorney General and Gov. Ron DeSantis launch their latest pushback against the Biden administration’s efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Together with attorney generals from 20 other states—including Arizona, Georgia, Mississippi, Montana, Virginia, and West Virginia—Ashely Moody, the state’s Attorney General, filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging mask requirements in airports and on planes, trains, and buses.
Moody and DeSantis’ rationale for their move: avoiding confrontations, similar to those that at times have occurred on planes when passengers refuse to wear a mask.
“It has caused so much confusion, so much chaos, and so much pressure on the employees,” Moody said.
The suit also claims that mask mandates violate states’ “quasi-sovereign interests in the health, safety, and welfare of their citizens.”
Common Sense Saves Lives
The Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) rationale, on the other hand, is to prevent the spread of the contagious disease that can cause severe illness and, in some cases, death. So far, 73,136 people have died of the virus in Florida.
“Traveling on public transportation increases a person’s risk of getting and spreading COVID-19 by bringing people in close contact with others, often for prolonged periods, and exposing them to frequently touched surfaces,” the CDC said on its website, pointing to travelers not being able to distance themselves from others. “Air travel often requires spending time in security lines and busy airport terminals.”
On March 10, the federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced that, at the CDC’s recommendation, it was extending a mask directive until April 18.
However, Moody is concerned that mask requirements could be extended past that date.
“I don’t think anyone should assume that they are not going to extend it again in April, because that has been the history of this administration,” she said. The TSA is one of several defendants in the lawsuit for enforcing the mask requirement.
For its part, the TSA’s announcement added that the CDC will work with government agencies to help inform a revised policy framework for when, and under what circumstances, masks should be required in the public transportation corridor.
“This revised framework will be based on the COVID-19 community levels, risk of new variants, national data, and the latest science. We will communicate any updates publicly if and/or when they change,” it said.