Apr 20, 2022 - Health

DOJ appeals travel mask mandate ruling after CDC says it "remains necessary"

Photo of two masked travelers carrying luggage outside an airport terminal

Masked travelers at Los Angeles International Airport on April 18. Photo: Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram via Getty Images

The Justice Department filed an appeal Wednesday seeking to overturn a federal court ruling that struck down its mask mandate for travelers earlier this week.

Why it matters: A DOJ spokesperson announced the move minutes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said it has concluded that the order remains necessary and asked the DOJ to make an appeal. Several airlines and companies have lifted mask requirements since the ruling, which comes as COVID cases surge across the U.S.

What they're saying: "[A]t this time an order requiring masking in the indoor transportation corridor remains necessary for the public health," the CDC said in a statement. "CDC believes this is a lawful order, well within CDC's legal authority to protect public health."

  • "As we have said before, wearing masks is most beneficial in crowded or poorly ventilated locations, such as the transportation corridor," the agency noted.
  • "When people wear a well-fitting mask or respirator over their nose and mouth in indoor travel or public transportation settings, they protect themselves, and those around them, including those who are immunocompromised or not yet vaccine-eligible, and help keep travel and public transportation safer for everyone."
  • Adding that it continues to recommend masking in all indoor transit settings, the CDC said it will monitor public health conditions "to determine whether such an order remains necessary."

The big picture: Cases were on the rise in 27 states plus the District of Columbia as of April 12.

Editor's note: This post was updated with additional details throughout.

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