Travelers react to mask mandate changes at airports

Published: Apr. 18, 2022 at 7:02 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Nashville International Airport officials said it’s their understanding there isn’t a mask mandate the airport after a federal ruling issued on Monday.

A federal judge voided the national mask mandate for planes, trains and public transportation, calling it “unlawful.”

The court’s ruling Monday comes less than a week after the CDC extended the mask mandate on planes until May 3 due to another variant of COVID-19.

On Monday, many passengers either arriving or departing the Music City, many of them with masks on, were unaware of the federal ruling.

“I’m just going to keep following directions,” Thomas Mankle, who is visiting Nashville from the West Coast, said.

The 59-page ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle said the CDC exceeded its authority and didn’t adequately explain its decision.

News of having to ditch the masks on a plane was welcome news to some passengers at the airport.

“Pretty much everywhere except the airport has been lifted,” Megan Moriarty, who just arrived in Nashville from Boston, said. “In Boston we are all largely vaccinated. I don’t know if that’s the case in Tennessee or not. I’m all for it personally. I think it will be great.”

“I’m excited and to me it can’t happen soon enough,” Nathan Apodaca from Huntsville, Ala., said. “Masks are gone everywhere, pretty much everywhere, concert venues, sporting events. This is the last version of the mask mandate.”

Mankle said he is indifferent on the matter.

“I’m not super passionate about it because it doesn’t bother me that much. I’m willing to do what it takes to keep others safe,” Mankle said. “As far as I know, I’ve been listening to what my state mandates have been because I trust the people that are making the decisions know a lot more than I do.”

A federal Judge voids the federal mask mandate for planes and public transportation Tosin Fakile is at BNA to explain how they're handling the decision.

Nashville International Airport released a statement about the judge’s ruling:

“The leadership at Nashville International Airport has monitored the developments of this morning’s federal court ruling overturning face mask requirements for travelers. BNA understands that the Transportation Security Administration is not currently appealing the Court’s ruling, therefore it is BNA’s understanding that there is no longer a mask requirement. However, travelers are encouraged to check with their respective carrier regarding the airline’s specific requirements.”

“If it could happen by the end of my trip that would be nice. I could go home without this,” Moriarty said.

“As a frequent traveler, I’m ready to take it off,” Apodaca said. “I’m glad to see it and I hope that it is soon.”

The White House said federal agencies were still assessing the court decision.

The Association of Flight Attendants told the Associated Press airlines would need 24-48 hours to put new procedures in place and tell employees about them.

United Airlines said its mask mandate remains in effect for customers and staff as they wait for more information from the federal government.

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