U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle said the federal rule requiring face coverings on airplanes, trains, and buses exceeded the authority of U.S. health officials.
The rule was set to expire Monday, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently extended it to May 3.
Officials said they needed more time to study the effect of the new BA.2 omicron subvariant of the coronavirus. But in her ruling, Mizelle said the CDC failed to justify its decision and did not follow proper rulemaking. The lawsuit dates back to July 2021.
Are masks coming back? Calls have grown to drop the transportation mask mandate in recent months as states have eased their pandemic restrictions.
Airlines lobbied to end the unpopular mask rule, arguing advanced filtration systems make virus spread on an airplane unlikely.
Also on Monday, residents and business owners sued the city of Philadelphia for its plan to reinstate an indoor mask mandate later this week.
This story originally appeared in WORLD. © 2022, reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.