A federal judge struck down a federal mask mandate on interstate travel, throwing strict policy out the window — at least temporarily — as spring travel kicks into full gear.
At airports across the country, travelers are confused on whether masks are still required or whether airlines have the authority to enforce them.
The Biden administration says the mandate is not currently in effect and the TSA will not enforce it, even as the CDC continues to recommend them.
Now crews are worried about what the decision means for their ability to law down the law on the plane after a couple years of violent confrontations with passengers over the mandate.
In a statement, the world’s largest flight attendants union, the Association of Flight Attendants, urged "...calm and consistency in airports and on planes. The last thing we need for workers on the frontlines or passengers traveling today is confusion & chaos."
The news comes as a new test for COVID-19 comes online, adding to the toolkit of tests, therapies and vaccines available to prevent and treat the virus.
The breath test is capable of detecting about 90% of positive cases — a welcome addition to the now robust infrastructure keeping Americans healthy.
But as Philadelphia becomes the first city to reimpose an indoor mask mandate amid a new wave of infections, proponents argue those who can’t get vaccinated, or for whom the vaccine is not as effective, still need our help.
"There's a high population density and it's still fairly cold," said Dr. Jessica Holzer, a health policy expert at the University of New Haven. "So, people aren't outside as often as they could be in other parts of the country. So, all of those things could be contributing to it."