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No mask, no problem at Salt Lake City International Airport

Posted at 9:57 PM, Apr 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-19 16:40:43-04

SALT LAKE CITY — If you are traveling by plane and don’t want to wear a mask anymore, you don’t have to after a federal judge in Florida voided the national mask mandate covering public transportation.

“Even though Utah isn’t officially part of the lawsuit the judge ruled on, Utah is affected by it in that the mask mandate is now officially off for all travelers,” said Richard Piatt with the Utah Attorney General’s Office.

Masks at the airport have been a contentious subject during the pandemic. But now, if you are traveling, "no mask, no problem."

Chantal Krall said she was only wearing a mask in the airport Monday because she thought it was mandated.

“I like breathing," she said. "I’m claustrophobic, so it would be nice to not have to wear this thing all the time. If people feel safe with it, that’s on them. It shouldn’t be required; it should be an option."

After Monday's ruling, the Salt Lake City Airport said in a statement:

"SLC International is aware of the changes to enforce the mask mandate. The Airport will continue to provide masks to those requesting them and suggests passengers continue to wear masks as recommended by the CDC."

The Utah Transit Authority initially said Monday that its mask mandate was still in effect but announced Tuesday that it was lifted.

Not everyone is comfortable with the idea of lifting mask requirements. Adrian Pina says he agrees they are uncomfortable but thinks it’s still too soon to get rid of the mandate.

“It’s nice to keep it around because some people are still having a cough here and there. Since everyone is coming here from every state, I think it should be a requirement for now,” he said.

The decision by U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle in Tampa comes as she argued the mandate as exceeding the authority of U.S. health officials.

The mask mandate was recently extended by President Joe Biden’s administration until May 3.

Despite the federal mask mandate being overturned for travelers, Utah is an active participant in four other lawsuits regarding masks involving large employers, head start workers, health care workers, and federal contractor employees.

“If you work for a large company, you have more than 100 employees, you don’t have to wear a mask," Piatt said. "If you are a healthcare worker, you do. If you are a head start worker, it’s not known yet, and if you’re a federal contractor employee, it’s not known yet because they’re being appealed."

The White House announced that it will be reviewing the decision but confirmed that the Transportation Security Administration will stop enforcing a mask mandate.