(The Center Square) – A student organization that fought mandates on college campuses in Illinois and elsewhere during the pandemic is applauding a judge’s ruling dropping the travel mask mandate.
A federal judge in Florida struck down the Biden administration’s mask mandate for airplanes and other public transportation modes Monday. The state of Illinois did the same the following day.
U.S. District Judge Kathryn Mizelle said the mandate was unlawful because it exceeded the statutory authority of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and because its implementation violated administrative law.
“It is about time and it just goes to show that a judge who is following the constitution goes a long way,” said Sean Theama, chief of staff for the group Young Americans for Liberty.
Just last week, the CDC extended the mask mandate because of a rise in COVID-19 cases. Several colleges have reinstated mask mandates because of the recent trend, but Theama, whose organization fought mandates on college campuses in Illinois and around the country, is not concerned about a slew of schools reinstating mask mandates.
“The science will back it up and has backed it up,” Theama said. “The mandates don’t make a difference and sometimes make it worse, so I think that people will always try to hang on to power, which is why some of these mandates are coming back, but they are going to be met with more resistance than ever.”
As for the travel mask mandate, Illinois officials are still encouraging passengers to wear masks in airports, and to extend courtesy to those who decide to do so.
A number of airlines, including Chicago-based United Airlines, have said that the ruling means masks are no longer required on domestic flights.
Other transportation companies are reacting as well. Metra trains in the Chicago area are making masks optional. Connect Transit in Bloomington-Normal had decided to drop masking requirements and allow masks to be optional for passengers on buses. CityLink in Peoria said the company will also allow masks for drivers and passengers to be optional.