Travelers react after judge strikes down public transportation mask mandate

WARWICK, R.I. (WLNE) — Travelers at Rhode Island T.F. Green International Airport were split when voicing their opinions about a Florida Federal Judge striking down the national public transportation mask mandate.

The Biden Administration and the CDC had extended that mandate until May 3rd.

The rule will not go into effect at this time, as the Biden Administration chooses how to respond to the decision.

“It’s obviously a disappointing decision,” said White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki. “The Department of Justice would make any determinations about litigation.”

The CDC says COVID-19 cases were up 21% last week.

This comes one week after Kent, Bristol, Washington, and Newport County were all moved to Medium Covid Level. These communities saw more than 200 new cases per 100,000 residents.

Most travelers at T.F. Green Airport say they still feel more comfortable wearing their masks amongst the crowds.

Michael O’Flaherty, a traveler at the airport, explained, “I think it’s just necessary to wear masks… I just think we have to keep protecting ourselves until a future date until things are safe.”

Another traveler explained, “It doesn’t feel too soon, but I’m not sure it’s time now or not either, if that makes sense.”

A Westport, Massachusetts native, Brian Pongolilo, believes this news is well overdue.

“They let you take it off when you’re eating or drinking a beverage that they serve to you on the plane,” said Pongolilo. “It just seemed a little arbitrary.

He concluded, “I think there’s a lot of people who are very comfortable wearing them and prefer to wear them. They should have their option and their choice to do that. I don’t think they ought to be forcing it on everyone else.”

T.F. Green Airport officials tell ABC 6 they are waiting for TSA guidance at the moment.

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Providence, Regional News, Rhode Island, US & World News, Warwick