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Majority of Americans want masks for travelers, poll finds

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Apr 21, 2022 - 12:26 PM

WASHINGTON (AA) – A majority of Americans continue to support a now-defunct requirement for travelers to wear masks, according to a poll released Wednesday.

The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll found 56% of Americans would like travelers on planes, trains and public transportation to face a mask mandate. That is more than double the 24% who are opposed. Twenty percent said they are neither in favor nor opposed to the requirement.

Support for mask mandates at public events such as concerts is also strong with 49% saying they support it compared to just 28% who said they are somewhat or strongly opposed. The same level of support was seen for requiring employees who interact with the public, such as restaurant staff, to wear masks.

US District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle ruled Monday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which had just extended the mandate for planes and other forms of public transportation for 15 days, overstepped its authority when it issued the original order and did not follow proper procedures.

Within hours of the ruling, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced it would no longer be enforcing the mandate, setting off a cavalcade of announcements from private companies and public transit agencies and airports making masking a personal choice.

Many of the US’ most prominent airlines announced that masks would now be optional on flights, including Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Alaska Airlines and JetBlue.

Many airports followed suit, including Los Angeles International Airport, the busiest West Coast hub.

The Justice Department announced late Tuesday that it would be appealing Mizelle’s ruling “subject to CDC’s conclusion that the order remains necessary for public health.”

“The Department continues to believe that the order requiring masking in the transportation corridor is a valid exercise of the authority Congress has given CDC to protect the public health,” it said in a statement. “That is an important authority the Department will continue to work to preserve.”

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