Apr 19, 2022 - Health

DOJ says it will appeal travel mask ruling if CDC deems it necessary

Photo of a row of Delta airplanes lined up at an airport

Delta airlines airplanes parked at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia on April 12, 2022. Photo: Camilo Freedman/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Justice Department said Tuesday it will appeal a court ruling from Monday which struck down the federal mask mandate for travelers if the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) concludes the order is still necessary.

Why it matters: The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), as well as a number of airlines and travel companies, have lifted mask requirements since the federal judge's ruling. Some public health experts worry it's too soon, especially as Omicron subvariants continue to spread across the U.S.

What they're saying: "The Department of Justice and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) disagree with the district court’s decision," DOJ spokesperson Anthony Coley said in a statement.

  • "The Department continues to believe that the order requiring masking in the transportation corridor is a valid exercise of the authority Congress has given CDC to protect the public health. That is an important authority the Department will continue to work to preserve."
  • The CDC is currently assessing public health conditions, according to the DOJ. "If CDC concludes that a mandatory order remains necessary for the public’s health after that assessment, the Department of Justice will appeal the district court’s decision," Coley said.
Go deeper