DeSantis celebrates ‘judicial relief’ on travel face mask mandate

Gov. Ron DeSantis celebrated a federal judge’s decision to get rid of the national mask mandate on domestic flights and mass transit. DeSantis said the order was to blame for a series of violent responses that some passengers had to the face mask mandate.

MIAMI – Gov. Ron DeSantis celebrated a federal judge’s decision to get rid of the national mask mandate on domestic flights and mass transit.

DeSantis said the order was to blame for a series of violent responses that some passengers had to the face mask mandate.

“We are very happy that finally, we have judicial relief for that unscientific mask mandate on airplanes. They treated these flight attendants horribly for so long, the passengers horribly, it has caused huge problems with just behavior because it really messes with people,” DeSantis said on Tuesday.

Former President Donald Trump’s appointee U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle issued her 59-page ruling on Monday from Tampa in response to a lawsuit that opponents filed last year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced it was not going to enforce the Jan. 29th order, which was set to expire on May 3rd. The Transportation Security Administration won’t either.

“This is obviously a disappointing decision. The CDC is recommending wearing a mask on public transit,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday.

The CDC’s order followed researchers’ findings that face masks combined with other preventive measures, such as vaccination, handwashing, and physical distancing could help slow the spread of the coronavirus and reduce the COVID-19 death toll.

“You should take precautions and one of those key ways to decrease risk is to wear the mask,” Dr. Aileen Marty, an infectious disease expert with Florida International University said on Tuesday.

There were mixed reactions on Tuesday at Miami and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood international airports. Anthony Richardson at FLL said the change didn’t really mean anything to him.

“It doesn’t matter to me. If I have to wear it; I will wear it,” Richardson said.

Khamille Mowett at MIA said the lack of face masks concerned her. It makes travelers who have severe underlying medical conditions to be at higher risk for developing COVID-19.

“It would be nice if everybody else still could but people will do what they want and I will continue wearing mine just for extra safety,” Mowett said.

Debbie Mozes at FLL agreed with Mowett.

“They didn’t ease into it. It’s just like all of a sudden, no warning, not right,” Mozes said.

Gilbert Lopez wasn’t wearing a face mask at MIA and he said the judge’s decision was “wonderful” and it should have happened a while ago.

“I travel all the time for work and I don’t have to worry about this anymore ... Optional! Exactly the way it should be: If you want to protect yourself wonderful and if you don’t — like I don’t — then great” Lopez said.

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About the Authors:

Sanela Sabovic joined Local 10 News in September 2012 as an assignment editor and associate producer. In August 2015, she became a full-time reporter and fill-in traffic reporter. Sanela holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications with a concentration in radio, television and film from DePaul University.

Annaliese Garcia joined Local 10 News in January 2020. Born and raised in Miami, she graduated from the University of Miami, where she studied broadcast journalism. She began her career at Univision. Before arriving at Local 10, she was with NBC2 (WBBH-TV) covering Southwest Florida. She's glad to be back in Miami!