Passengers react to judge voiding federal mask mandate for travel

Published: April 18, 2022 9:01 PM EDT
Updated: April 18, 2022 10:41 PM EDT

On Monday, a federal judge in Florida reversed the public transportation mask mandate extension. This means that the TSA “will not enforce” the policy at least while they decide if they’ll appeal it.

Travelers at RSW had some thoughts about the mandate and its reversal.

The first thing everyone sees as soon as they set foot inside of Southwest Florida International Airport is a sign stating that you must wear a mask at all times.

Just last week, the Centers for Disease and Prevention called to an extension of that mask mandate until May 3.

Monika Kampa lives in Florida. “I don’t like the mask thing, but for transportation, I would say yes, because you’re so close to people,” said Kampa.

But others, like Carter Ames from Michigan, disagree. “I don’t agree with anything they say, really. I just… they keep extending and extending it, and I don’t think it’s doing anything to help. I think most people are over it,” Ames said.

Kathyrn Kimball Mizelle, a federal judge in Florida, ruled to change that. She rendered the mandate unconstitutional.

Edyie Walther is a part-time Southwest Florida resident. “I saw that the Florida judge wants to drop the mandate. And I was happy because I do get panicky on an airplane mask makes it worse. And I just think that should be my decision,” said Walther.

In fact, when she came to the airport on Monday to pick up her grandchildren, she thought she wouldn’t need a mask anymore.

“Yes, I was so excited. I had in my hand, and I saw the sign, but then I went to the window, and there are a lot of people that aren’t wearing them today,” Walther said.

Some travelers hope that’s the case. “I agree with the judge that if you want to sure it if you feel better, you should, but you don’t need to, or you don’t want to, you shouldn’t have to,” said Ames.

“I think it’s okay. Like I said, people should have a choice. And my choice is to wear masks,” Kampa said.

As for when this might go into effect, that has not been determined.

The White House has said that “agencies are reviewing the decision and assessing potential next steps. In the meantime, the CDC’s public transportation masking order is not in effect.”

Some airlines, including Southwest, Delta, United and Alaska, have now said that masks are optional.