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Federal judge strikes down mask mandate on planes, mass transit

April 18, 2022


A federal judge in Florida on Monday struck down a COVID mask mandate for planes, buses and trains, and imposed a nationwide injunction. The judge ruled that the mandate exceeds the authority of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. William Brangham talks to Lawrence Gostin of Georgetown University about what this means for passengers, public health and the CDC’s ability to act.

Five Facts

  • Who originally set the requirement that airlines and airports mandate masks for travelers?
  • When did the rule originally go into effect?
  • What decision reversed the airline mask rule?
  • How does the judge in the case have the power to reverse the rule?
  • Why did the judge rule that the mask mandate had to be put on hold?

Focus Questions

Do you think a judge in one part of the country should have the power to overrule a national mandate? What are the advantages and disadvantages of such a system, and under what conditions should judges have the power to issue these injunctions?

Media literacy: Who else would you want to hear from to understand the impact of this decision?

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