Florida judge voids U.S. mask mandate for planes, other travel
If Byron Donalds has his way, you'll never see this again. Image via AP.

Virus Outbreak-Masks
The judge, a Trump appointee, said the CDC failed to justify its decision and did not follow proper rulemaking.

A federal judge in Florida has voided the national mask mandate covering airplanes and other public transportation as exceeding the authority of U.S. health officials in the coronavirus pandemic.

The decision Monday by U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle in Tampa, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, also said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention improperly failed to justify its decision and did not follow proper rulemaking.

In her 59-page ruling, Mizelle said the only remedy was to vacate the rule entirely because it would be impossible to end it for the limited group of people who objected to it in the lawsuit.

The judge said “a limited remedy would be no remedy at all” and that the courts have full authority to make a decision such as this — even if the goals of the CDC in fighting the virus are laudable.

“Because our system does not permit agencies to act unlawfully even in pursuit of desirable ends, the court declares unlawful and vacates the mask mandate,” she wrote.

The Justice Department declined to comment Monday when asked if the government planned to appeal the ruling.

The CDC recently extended the mask mandate, which was set to expire Monday, until May 3 to allow more time to study the BA.2 omicron subvariant of the coronavirus that is now responsible for the vast majority of cases in the U.S.

The mask requirement for travelers was the target of months of lobbying from the airlines, which sought to kill it. The carriers argued that effective air filters on modern planes make transmission of the virus during a flight highly unlikely. Republicans in Congress also fought to kill the mandate.

Critics have seized on the fact that states have rolled back rules requiring masks in restaurants, stores and other indoor settings, and yet COVID-19 cases have fallen sharply since the omicron variant peaked in mid-January.

There have been a series of violent incidents on aircraft that have mainly been attributed to disputes over the mask-wearing requirements.

The lawsuit was filed in July 2021 by two plaintiffs and the Health Freedom Defense Fund, described in the judge’s order as a nonprofit group that “opposes laws and regulations that force individuals to submit to the administration of medical products, procedures and devices against their will.”

There was no immediate word on whether the government will appeal.


Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Associated Press


  • Lady Liberty in a Black Robe

    April 18, 2022 at 3:14 pm

    No matter which president appointed her, this judge is an advocate for the personal freedom that is the hallmark of Americanism.

  • just sayin

    April 18, 2022 at 3:16 pm

    Anticipate lots of thinly veiled misogyny as to her qualifications and almost no discussion of the legal merits of her ruling. And mention of the ABA’s usual partisan hackery.

    Just remember, you’re still free to wear your own mask.

  • Impeach Biden

    April 18, 2022 at 3:45 pm

    Thank you Judge Mizelle. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

    • 👍

      April 18, 2022 at 4:04 pm

      “Walking out of emergency room” covid: thank you!

      Mom: my baby!

      Covid: your fault

  • Southern Logic

    April 18, 2022 at 4:02 pm

    About time. Now for the rest of public transportation to be mask free.

  • Tjb

    April 18, 2022 at 5:07 pm

    Florida has 6.5 % of the USA population and 9.2 % of the Covid deaths. Got to love DeSantis, he has given us the freedom to die maskless and unvaccinated.

    • Impeach Biden

      April 18, 2022 at 5:24 pm

      Did you ever consider what the average age of the population of Florida is? This s where they old folks come to play shuffleboard and go to heaven. Remember both Texas and California have more deaths than Florida. Guess why? So much for Garcetti and his wet sand / dry sand speech.

      • tom palmer

        April 18, 2022 at 5:59 pm

        Did not do well in statistics class, I guess. Big difference between gross numbers and percentages. As someone once told me, figures don’t lie, but liars figure. qed

        • Impeach Biden

          April 18, 2022 at 6:49 pm

          You will probably spin the invasion at the Southern Border the same way. Did just fine by the way. Several ways to look at the numbers.

      • Don’t Look Up

        April 18, 2022 at 6:50 pm

        Per capita Florida has more deaths than California. It’s not even close. Per capita California would need 40,000 more COVID deaths to catch up with Florida’s death toll.

        • Impeach Biden

          April 18, 2022 at 8:09 pm

          Okay you focus on per capita and I look at the totals. Bottom line is the wet sand / dry sand and the Kalifornia lock down had little effect vs an open state like Florida. Where would you rather have spent the last two years? Free or on lock down? I choose freedom. Thank you Gov DeSantis

          • Don’t Look Up

            April 18, 2022 at 8:22 pm

            You must look at per capita. California has ten million more residents.

          • Don’t Look Up

            April 18, 2022 at 8:33 pm

            The population of Florida is 22,500,000 of which 20% are only here in winter months.

            Population of California is 39,600,000.

          • Impeach Biden

            April 18, 2022 at 8:44 pm

            You aren’t answering the question. Would you rather have spent the last two years in “open” Florida or “closed” Kalifornia? I choose Florida. How about you?

          • Don’t Look Up

            April 18, 2022 at 8:54 pm

            No one in Florida or California or anywhere else in the USA were “locked down” …everyone in the USA were free to go for a walk, go for groceries, order food from restaurants, take grandma to her doctor’s appointment or to the drug store for her scripts. The “lock down” narrative is simply a politicized talking point by America’s most ignorant and insipid governor and his adorable followers who NEVER RESEARCH anything he states.

          • No Florida

            April 19, 2022 at 2:09 am

            “You focus on per capita and-“

            COVID: hey man you know I’m gonna kill your entire State so it won’t matter right? Lol

        • Tom

          April 18, 2022 at 11:43 pm

          You are a perpetual liar, “Don’t look up” Florida was designated by Biden’s HHS as the # 1 state in the country for senior inoculations!

          America’s Gov #1.

  • Jerry

    April 18, 2022 at 6:58 pm

    So Biden keeps the southern border wide open, people flowing across with no papers, no testing, no vaccines, no masks, etc.. But then he still wants to force all American citizens to travel with masks?

    I will not wear a mask or get any vaccinations while that border is wide open. It signals to me that this virus isn’t that serious when the federal government doesn’t care who comes across infected.

    • Don’t Look Up

      April 18, 2022 at 7:06 pm

      More Fake News from Jerry. Every border refugee is FULLY VACCINATED before they are released into the USA. EVERY refugee has documentation before they are accepted as a refugee. Biden is following IMMIGRATION LAWS ESTABLISHED BY CONGRESS.

      COMPLAIN TO Marco Rubio and Rick Scott……why aren’t they addressing comprehensive immigration policy. Biden asked Congress in his State of the Union address.

      You can lie on Fox ….but be prepared for a lashing when you type nonsense here.

      • Impeach Biden

        April 19, 2022 at 7:04 am

        Why not complain to Debbie Wasserman-Schultz? It’s the Democrats that control Congress. Crickets from Weston, FL.

    • Like the others

      April 19, 2022 at 2:14 am

      “I will not wear a mask or get any vaccinations”

      COVID: unlike you I’ll beat you naturally lol

  • Antonio

    April 18, 2022 at 11:29 pm

    About time.

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704