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Florida Leads 21 States in Action to End Traveler Mask Mandate

TAMPA, Fla. (CW44 News at 10) - Florida government officials are leading other states in an action against the Biden Administration's mask mandate for U.S. travelers.

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody filed a lawsuit Tuesday challenging the Biden Administration's mask mandate on public transportation. She's joined by 20 other state attorney's general arguing that the CDC has overstepped its legal authority in requiring masks for travelers.

In conjunction with filing the lawsuit in Tampa federal court, moody says "Everywhere you go, people are frustrated and taking it out on the employees that are charged with this rule that they have to wear a mask when it is an unfounded rule and order. It's long past time to alleviate some of the pressure on travelers and those working in the travel industry by immediately ending [President] Biden's unlawful public transportation mandates."

Local mask-acceptance groups are speaking out about what that future could look like.

"It's difficult to know what's going to happen down the line. Right now, things are improving but it's a situation that could change," said Nicole Sutton, a resident of Tampa Bay. "I have a son who's highly asthmatic and so my mom's also vulnerable.

Members of mask-advocacy Facebook group, Mask Up Florida say it's about considering the greater community as whole

"We could see another surge and in those cases, what would be good is that we can be responsive to that so we don't have to all be in lockdown, we don't have to have these extreme measures," said Sutton. She points out the risk workers face, especially with another possible surge in Covid-19 cases. "That's their workplace and they don't have a choice but to be there. And so I just think if we could become more conscious about that, I think it would just help relax a little bit of this."

The Transportation Security Administration, or TSA, is one of several defendants in that lawsuit who, too, enforces a mask requirement.

"This is not a forever situation, and at the end of the day, the decisions we're making right now effect where we might be in six months or where we might be a year from now," said Sutton.

Attorney General Moody is joined in the complaint by the attorneys general from the following states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia.

Attorney General Moody filed the action in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida.

To read the full complaint, click here.


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