MYR airlines drop mask mandates with federal judge ruling, TSA announcement

Published: Apr. 18, 2022 at 9:23 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Myrtle Beach International Airport’s airline partners are dropping the COVID-19 mask mandates with the recent federal judge’s ruling and the TSAs announcement.

Monday, a federal judge in Florida voided the national mask mandate covering airplanes and other public transportation as exceeding the authority of U.S. health officials in the coronavirus pandemic.

Later that day, an official with the Biden administration said the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will not enforce the mask mandate on public transportation after the court’s ruling.

By Monday evening, America Airlines, Delta, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines announced they would lift the mask mandate, effective immediately.

Sun Country Airlines released the following statement to WMBF News:

“We are working with our partners at the CDC and FAA to review today’s ruling. We will provide an update on our website when an update is available.”

Spirit Airlines gave WMBF News the following statement:

“The statement was only released today and there haven’t been any amendments as yet. It is optional only in Florida, but some states might require you to wear your mask while some might not. So just to be on the safe side, always have a mask ready.”

WMBF reached out to all MYR airline partners but has not received responses from Frontier, Allegiant, Avelo, or Porter airlines.

Horry County Department of Airports issued the following statement to WMBF News:

“Last week, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) extended the Security Directives and Emergency Amendment requiring mask use on public transportation and transportation hubs through May 3, 2022. The airport staff is monitoring recent developments on this topic, and is mindful that the decision may be stayed pending an appeal, and will distribute information accordingly to the traveling public should there be any updates to the mask mandate pertaining to commercial airports and/or air travel.”

Meanwhile, some passengers at MYR were in the air at the time of the ruling.

“I feel more comfortable wearing a mask and on the plane definitely I felt comfortable wearing it,” said Sandy Weaver, traveling from New Jersey.

She says she is fully vaccinated and boosted and will opt to mask up.

“Everyone was wearing a mask on the plane and there was no problem,” Weaver added.

Tamia Williams, traveling with her infant daughter to Chicago says the mandate should stay in place.

“I’m not sure what the numbers are for COVID right now, but I’m sure it needs to go down more before we lift the mandate,” Williams said.

The TSA’s official statement was issued on its website:

“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. TSA will also rescind the new Security Directives that were scheduled to take effect tomorrow. CDC continues to recommend that people wear masks in indoor public transportation settings at this time.”

The ruling could still be appealed. White House press secretary Jen Psaki, in a press conference Monday, said the administration is reviewing the court’s ruling and the Justice Department will determine whether it will appeal.

The CDC continues to recommend that people wear masks on public transit.

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