On April 18th, Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle released a detailed report, unveiling her decision to officially void the mask mandate on a national level. Although the CDC had announced that masks would be required for air travel through May 3rd, this decision unexpectedly arrived, bringing joy and fear to many Americans. However, with regard to air travel, the choice ultimately lay with the travel companies. These corporations have the ability to either reinforce a mask mandate or allow their passengers, attendants and pilots to sit back, relax and enjoy a Delta flight or Amtrak.
Numerous airlines have dropped their mask requirements, allowing for all those on board to sit comfortably maskless, knowing that they no longer have to be anxious about masks on public transportation. However, is this the appropriate message that should be sent right now?
Precautions have become more relaxed over the past few weeks, and many were expecting the mask mandate to be dropped for travel. Not only airplanes and trains, but also rideshare apps have taken advantage of this new development. Uber effectively ended their mask requirements on April 19th, only a day after the airline decision had been reached.
The response of the American people has been mixed, with some expressing their sheer excitement at the possibility of a return to normalcy, while others continue to experience anxiety, unsure of how these new developments will impact young children, the elderly or the unvaccinated. Not only among the general public, but this ruling has also caused political turmoil in Washington. Mizelle, who had been nominated by former President Trump, did not share the same perspective as the Biden leadership in the White House. The COVID-19 committee under President Biden continues to urge the public to remain cautious of the pandemic and wear masks to maintain a barrier to infection. They have appealed the decision reached by Mizelle, hoping to reassess the conclusion and potentially reinstate mask requirements to prevent the further spreading of the deadly pathogen.
However, one state remains an anomaly to this major de-masking and relaxing of regulations: New York. With positive cases continuing to mount, the state has seen a gradual resurgence of the virus. Public transportation in New York City will remain a mask-required zone. This includes taxis, trains and Ubers. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, commonly known as M. T. A, can resist the federal ruling since it falls under the control of the state of New York.
As the world continues to examine the post-pandemic world, we must remain resilient in overcoming new obstacles and combating the virus. As restrictions are lifted, take proper precautions to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.