Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport no longer requiring face masks
PHOENIX — Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport announced Monday that face masks are no longer required for customers and employees.
The lifting of the requirement follows a federal judge in Florida voiding the national mask mandate covering airlines and other public transportation as exceeding the authority of U.S. health officials in their response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The airport said in a press release that face coverings will continue to be made available in vending machines and free of charge at information counters as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still recommends people wear masks in indoor public transportation settings.
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 decision by U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle in Tampa, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, in voiding the mandate also said the CDC improperly failed to justify its decision and did not follow proper rulemaking procedures that left it fatally flawed.
In her 59-page ruling, Mizelle said the only remedy was to vacate the rule entirely across the country because it would be impossible to end it for the limited group of people who objected in the lawsuit.
The Justice Department declined to comment Monday when asked if the government planned to appeal the ruling. The CDC also declined to comment.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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