CDC extends mask requirements for traveling as state of Florida's lawsuit continues

Amid a legal challenge by Florida and other states, federal officials announced Wednesday that travelers will continue to be required to wear masks through May 3 in airports and on planes, trains and buses.

The requirement, aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19, had been scheduled to expire Monday. But in a statement Wednesday, the federal Transportation Security Administration pointed to increased COVID-19 cases, particularly involving what is known as the BA.2 subvariant of the coronavirus.

“Since early April 2022, there have been increases in the 7-day moving average of COVID-19 cases in the United States,” the statement said. “During the 15-day extension period, CDC (the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) will assess the potential impact the recent rise of COVID-19 cases has on severe disease, including hospitalizations, deaths, and health care system capacity.”

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, joined by attorneys general from 20 other states, filed a lawsuit March 29 in federal court in Tampa challenging the mask requirement. In part, the lawsuit contends that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has overstepped its legal authority in requiring masks for travelers.

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