COVID - Mask - Travel Travelers wait in a security line at Love Field in Dallas, Tuesday. The major airlines and many of the busiest airports dropped their mask requirements after a Florida judge struck down the CDC mandate and the Transportation Security Administration announced it wouldn't enforce its 2021 security directive.
Image via AP Photo/LM Otero

Masks are no longer mandatory on public transportation nationwide, despite the rise in COVID cases. Meanwhile, Puerto Rico has increased its safety measures to stop the spread of COVID.

Florida and Puerto Rico couldn’t be any more different when it comes to COVID-19. A Florida federal judge has ruled against the Biden administration’s mask requirements in transportation settings, while Puerto Rico is reinstating safety measures.

US District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle described the federal mask requirement on planes, trains, buses, and other modes of public transportation as “unlawful.”

Former President Donald Trump’s appointee said on Monday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had exceeded its authority and failed to follow proper rule-making procedures.

The White House called Mizelle’s decision “disappointing.”

“The agencies are reviewing the decision and assessing potential next steps. In the meantime, [Monday’s] court decision means CDC’s public transportation masking order is not in effect at this time,” said a Biden administration official.

Mizelle’s decision comes when COVID-19 cases are rising in the Northeast as a result of the BA.2 omicron subvariant.

Last week, federal officials had extended the mask requirement for commercial flights and in other settings until at least May 3.

After the judge’s decision, airlines began announcing that they were dropping their masks requirements.

Meanwhile in Puerto Rico, Gov. Pedro Pierluisi announced on Monday the immediate reinstatement of mask requirements on the island.

Now those who attend mass events of 1,000 or more people are required to wear masks.

In addition, the local Health Department is recommending mask use indoors, avoiding crowds, social distancing, and disinfectant use.

The island is currently at a moderate but rising level of transmission due to the BA.2 omicron subvariant. On Tuesday, a positivity rate of 22.45% was reported, up from 19.39% on Monday.