The Transportation Security Administration said late Monday that it is dropping mask mandates for airports and airlines in the wake of a federal judge’s ruling striking down the rules.
The ruling means that TSA officials will no longer enforce mask-related rules at airports nationwide, including at Pittsburgh International Airport.
“Due to today’s court ruling, effective immediately, TSA will no longer enforce its Security Directives and Emergency Amendment requiring mask use on public transportation and transportation hubs,” according to the TSA statement. “TSA will also rescind the new Security Directives that were scheduled to take effect (Tuesday). (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) continue to recommend that people wear masks in indoor public transportation settings at this time.”
Pittsburgh International Airport officials said the guidance means that masking is no longer required in the terminal for passengers or staff.
“TSA will no longer be enforcing the mask mandate at PIT, per their release,” said Travis McNichols, Senior Vice President, Public Safety, Operations & Maintenance at PIT. “As always, we follow TSA regulations and will continue to communicate with federal officials should any change occur.”
Just last week, citing an uptick in COVID-19 cases nationally, TSA had extended the public transportation mask mandate through May 3.
U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle on Monday said the mandate exceeded the statutory authority of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which the TSA relied on for guidance.
The existing requirement, which applied to airports and airlines nationwide, had been slated to expire after April 18, following a monthlong extension announced in March. Airlines have required masks on planes since early in the pandemic, but federal officials made them mandatory in early 2021.