President Biden and others traveling with him will wear masks on his trip to New Hampshire on Tuesday, despite the federal mask mandate for travel being struck down this week.
“During transit on today’s trip, masking will be required in line with CDC guidance,” the White House told The Hill.
The president is traveling on Air Force One to Portsmouth, N.H., to visit the port authority at Portsmouth Harbor and deliver remarks on the infrastructure law. He will fly back to Joint Base Andrews to return to the White House on Tuesday evening.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which enforced the 14-month-long mask mandate for planes, buses and trains, is no longer enforcing the mandate after a federal judge in Florida struck down the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) directive.
However, the Biden administration is still encouraging travelers to wear masks on public transit. The ruling out of Florida came days after the administration had extended the mandate by two weeks, through May 3, citing the rise in COVID-19 cases from the BA.2 variant.
“This is based on health considerations and data that the CDC looks at about transmissibility as we’ve seen an increase in cases on airplanes,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Monday when questioned on the administration encouraging masks for travel.
She said that the ruling was “disappointing” and that the administration was reviewing the decision. The administration could choose to appeal the ruling.
Major airlines and airports quickly dropped mask mandates after the ruling, with every major U.S. airline announcing masks are now optional and many major airports, including Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and LaGuardia Airport, lifting their restrictions.