x
Breaking News
More () »

Masks now officially optional at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

The judge said the CDC overstepped its authority in issuing the original health order on which the TSA directive was based.

ATLANTA — After a federal judge ruled against the national mask mandate for mass transit, the world's busiest airport announced they'd be dropping the requirement.

Masks are now optional for employees, passengers, and visitors inside Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, they said on Tuesday.

"Although a mask mandate will no longer be enforced, employees, passengers, and visitors are reminded that masks continue to offer a level of protection against the COVID virus," officials said in a statement. 

MARTA also announced on Tuesday that they would not enforce the mask mandate "until further notice." 

In a 59-page lawsuit ruling on Monday, U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle in Tampa said the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention overstepped its authority in issuing the original health order on which the TSA directive was based. She also said the order was fatally flawed because the CDC didn't follow proper rulemaking procedures.

The Justice Department declined to comment on whether it would seek an emergency stay to block the judge’s order. The CDC also declined to comment.

The CDC had recently extended the mask mandate, which was set to expire Monday, until May 3 to allow more time to study the BA.2 omicron subvariant of the coronavirus now responsible for the vast majority of cases in the U.S. But the court ruling puts that decision on hold.