Mar 29, 2022 - Politics & Policy

DeSantis sues Biden administration over transportation mask mandate

Illustration of a plane flying through clouds shaped like viruses
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Gov. Ron DeSantis is taking his war on COVID restrictions to the skies.

Driving the news: DeSantis announced Tuesday that Florida is leading 20 other states in a lawsuit against the Biden administration's transportation mask mandate.

  • The federal government recently extended the air and transit mask mandate through April 18.
  • It covers all forms of commercial transportation including planes, trains, boats and buses as well as hubs like airports, train stations and subway stations, plus taxis and ride-share vehicles.

Why it matters: The governor said that while Florida is a top travel destination in the U.S., what he calls "COVID theater" could be deterring people from wanting to fly there, and that asking transportation workers to police mask rules is an unnecessary burden.

What he's saying: "If you have somebody sitting in the window seat nibbling on peanuts for two and a half hours they can have their masks down, but someone in the middle seat just wanted to read a magazine without the mask, that turns into a big problem," DeSantis said. "In Florida, we have to let people live their lives."

  • White House representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to note that DeSantis is leading a multi-state lawsuit.

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