Thanks to Senate Democrats, American airplane travelers will have to continue wearing masks.
For over a year, travelers that have utilized airline services in America have been subjected to mask mandates due to the COVID-19 pandemic — both within airports and aboard flights.
The use of masks has been widely promoted as a method of stopping the spread of the virus and keeping those around you safe.
To all of our customers and team members, thank you for doing your part. When it comes to wearing a face covering, we are all in this together. pic.twitter.com/Zafc6O22P8
— americanair (@AmericanAir) December 21, 2020
However, as more is known about the coronavirus, the universal use of masks has been brought into question — particularly concerning those who have been vaccinated against the virus or have already contracted it, thus gaining natural immunity.
On Wednesday, Republican Sen. Rick Scott of Florida introduced the Stop Mandating Additional Requirements for Travel Act to end the federal mandate requiring citizens to wear masks on public transportation.
However, Scott noted in a Wednesday tweet that Democrats in the U.S. Senate promptly blocked passage of the bill.
Today, I was joined by @SenMikeLee to ask for passage of my SMART Act prohibiting the government from forcing Americans to wear masks on public transportation. Democrats blocked it. When will they actually listen to the science? 👀⬇️ pic.twitter.com/2EF8eahwLJ
— Rick Scott (@SenRickScott) June 23, 2021
“The [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] itself has been clear mask mandates aren’t needed … So, why is the CDC singling out airlines and public transportation? It doesn’t make any sense,” Scott said on the Senate floor.
The CDC did, in fact, update its guidance on mask-wearing on June 11. The agency now recommends that only “travelers who are not fully vaccinated” should continue wearing masks and social distancing while traveling.
Furthermore, White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeffrey Zients confirmed during a June 3 White House news briefing that “63 percent of adult Americans have received at least one shot, and 52 percent of adult Americans are fully vaccinated.”
Despite Senate Democrat’s best efforts, the bill may still have some life thanks to Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw of Texas.
On Wednesday, Crenshaw introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Do you think we need to mandate masks on airplanes and other forms of public transportation anymore?
No? Neither do I.
So I introduced legislation with @SenRickScott ending the mandate.
The best part? The bill takes effect on July 4 🇺🇸https://t.co/7bYieiu3hG
— Rep. Dan Crenshaw (@RepDanCrenshaw) June 23, 2021
“We’ve known for months that federal mandates requiring masks on airplanes and other means of transportation were unscientific. The doomsday predictions of lifting mask mandates in restaurants and other businesses never materialized, and it’s time we actually ‘follow the science’ for public transportation as well,” Crenshaw said in a Wednesday news release.
“Resuming full, unimpeded travel is crucial to getting our economy back on track and we should remove any misguided obstacles to making that happen,” the congressman added.
“I’m proud to join with Senator Scott on this commonsense effort and urge my colleagues in the House and Senate to join us in passing this legislation.”