An outdated sign requiring Delta Air Lines passengers to wear a face mask to board a plane is displayed in the domestic te...

Federal government will appeal Florida mask ruling only if CDC says the mandate is still needed

The Justice Department said Tuesday it will not appeal a federal district judge’s ruling that ended the nation’s federal mask mandate on public transit unless the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believes the requirement is still necessary.

In a statement released a day after a Florida judge ended the sweeping mandate, which required face coverings on planes and trains and in transit hubs, Justice Department spokesman Anthony Coley said officials believe that the federal mask order was “a valid exercise of the authority Congress has given CDC to protect the public health.” He said it was “an important authority the Department will continue to work to preserve.”

Coley said the CDC had said it would continue to assess public health conditions, and if the agency determined a mandate was necessary for public health, the Justice Department would file an appeal.

Hollingsworth reported from Mission, Kansas, and Crawford from Chicago. Associated Press writers David Koenig in Dallas, Michael Balsamo and Will Weissert in Washington and Karen Matthews in New York contributed to this report.