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COVID-19

Biden: It’s ‘Up To’ Travelers If They Want To Wear Masks Or Not

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Joe Biden

On Tuesday, President Biden said that American travelers should be able to make their own decision on if they want to wear masks on airplanes following a Florida federal judge’s decision to strike down his administration’s mask mandate for planes and most other forms of transportation the day before.

The president was asked by a reporter if people should continue to wear masks on planes, to which he replied, “That’s up to them.”

As noted by The New York Post, “Biden and those traveling with him aboard Air Force One were made to mask up despite the judge’s ruling and many airlines and transportation agencies reversing the policy.”

“During transit on today’s trip, masking will be required in line with CDC guidance,” the White House told reporters who were planning on traveling with him.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle in Tampa struck down the mask mandate because it “exceeded the CDC’s statutory authority, improperly invoked the good cause exception to notice and comment rulemaking, and failed to adequately explain its decisions.”

She added that “our system does not permit agencies to act unlawfully even in pursuit of desirable ends.”

“The Court DECLARES UNLAWFUL and VACATES the Mask Mandate, remanding it to the CDC for further proceedings consistent with this order,” Mizelle ordered. “The Court directs the Clerk to TERMINATE President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., as a Defendant to this action, to ENTER final judgment in favor of Plaintiffs as prescribed in this order, and to CLOSE this case.”

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COVID-19

Kamala Harris Tests Positive For COVID-19

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Kamala Harris

On Tuesday, the White House announced that Vice President Kamala Harris has tested positive for COVID-19 and is not currently showing symptoms.

“Today, Vice President Harris tested positive for COVID-19 on rapid and PCR tests,” said Kirsten Allen, press secretary to the vice president. “She has exhibited no symptoms, will isolate and continue to work from the Vice President’s residence. She has not been a close contact to the President or First Lady due to their respective recent travel schedules. She will follow CDC guidelines and the advice of her physicians. The Vice President will return to the White House when she tests negative.”

Harris wrote on Twitter that she was going to continue to isolate and is showing no symptoms.

“Today I tested positive for COVID-19. I have no symptoms, and I will continue to isolate and follow CDC guidelines. I’m grateful to be both vaccinated and boosted,” Harris tweeted.

Harris last reportedly saw President Biden at the Easter Egg Roll on April 18 before leaving for California, which she returned from on April 25.

The vice president has been vaccinated against COVID-19 and has received two booster shots, receiving the second booster on April 1.

“Yesterday I received my second COVID-19 booster shot,” Harris tweeted on April 2. “We know that getting vaccinated is the best form of protection from this virus and boosters are critical in providing an additional level of protection. If you haven’t received your first booster—do it today.”

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COVID-19

At Least 3 US Airlines Will Restore Flight Privileges To Some Mask Violators

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At least three major U.S. airlines – Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and American Airlines – have now said they will allow some passengers who were banned from their planes over mask violations to have their flight privileges restored – determined on a case-by-case basis.

On Wednesday, Delta released a statement saying, “At Delta, nothing is more important than the safety and security of our customers and our people. With masks now optional, Delta will restore flight privileges for customers on the mask non-compliance no-fly list only after each case is reviewed and each customer demonstrates an understanding of their expected behavior when flying with us.”

“Any further disregard for the policies that keep us all safe will result in placement on Delta’s permanent no-fly list. Customers who demonstrated egregious behavior and are already on the permanent no-fly list remain barred from flying with Delta,” the statement added.

United Airlines similarly announced it will allow passengers it banned for not following mask rules to be allowed to fly again.

“On a case-by-case basis, we will allow some customers who were previously banned for failing to comply with mask-related rules to fly United again — after ensuring their commitment to follow all crewmember instructions on board,” United Airlines said in a statement.

American Airlines will also allow passengers banned for violating mask rules “to resume travel at some point in time,” according to the company’s chief government affairs officer, Nate Gatten.

“In cases where an incident may have started with face mask noncompliance and escalated into anything involving something more serious, or certainly an assault on one of our key members or customers, those passengers are going to remain on our permanent internal refuse list and will never be allowed to travel with us again,” Gatten said.

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