Justice Clarence Thomas shut down an appeal to the Supreme Court challenging the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s mandate requiring masks on public transportation.
In an order handed down Tuesday evening, Thomas rejected the request for an injunction without referring the case to the rest of the court. Thomas’s decision came a week after Lucas Wall, a frequent flyer from Washington, D.C., asked the court to halt the mandate in a complaint leveled against the CDC, President Joe Biden, and a slew of other federal agencies.
After Thomas rejected his case, Wall acknowledged that the appeal was a “long shot,” especially since he is still awaiting a trial before a district court in Orlando, Florida.
“Of course it’s still disappointing Justice Thomas did not take a more in-depth look at the illegal and unconstitutional mask requirement,” Wall said.
Wall brought the case forward after he was ejected from the Orlando International Airport in early June for not wearing a mask. In his complaint, he claimed that a generalized anxiety disorder made it impossible for him to follow the “improper, illegal, and unconstitutional” mandate. Most states at that point had already removed mask mandates, if they had them in the first place.
When Wall appealed to the Supreme Court, he said that a narrow decision in favor of the CDC’s eviction moratorium, which is set to expire at the end of July, signaled that the justices were open to striking down pandemic-era orders.
And even though Thomas shut down his appeal, Wall said he still believes he will win his case against the agency eventually.
“For now, the federal government has prevailed in muzzling all travelers and banning tens of millions of Americans including myself who can’t tolerate having their face covered from using any form of public transportation,” he said.
Fully vaccinated Americans can now ditch their masks in outdoor transit hubs and on outdoor public transportation, the Centers for Disease Control said in updated guidance issued Thursday.
The new recommendations apply to any outdoor transportation areas, like outside an airport or a bus stop, as well as outdoor areas of public transportation, like the deck of a ferry or an open-air trolley.
Unvaccinated travelers should still continue to wear their masks in all public transportation-related areas, indoors and outdoors, the agency noted.
“CDC will continue to evaluate the requirements of its Order and determine whether additional changes may be warranted,” the agency wrote. “While those who are fully vaccinated may resume many activities without wearing a mask, the travel environment presents a unique set of circumstances based on the number and close interaction of travelers (both vaccinated and unvaccinated).”
When it comes to vaccine progress, 64% of Americans 18 and older have received at least one dose of a vaccine, and 53.4% are considered fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
So far,ABC News reported 13 states have vaccinated at least 70% of their adult populations with at least one dose: Pennsylvania, Vermont, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, New Jersey, Rhode Island, New Mexico, Washington, Maryland, and California.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she’s not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.
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The U.S. transportation system has been shaped by multiple policy inputs and concrete actions which have arisen from transportation and community planners, funding agencies and others at Federal, state and local levels. Today, the system is designed to move people and goods efficiently; however, there is a growing awareness across communities that transportation systems impact quality of life and health. Government and non-government agencies are seeking innovative policies and programs that protect and promote health while accomplishing the primary transportation objectives.
Expanding the availability of, safety for, and access to a variety of transportation options and integrating health-enhancing choices into transportation policy has the potential to save lives by preventing chronic diseases, reducing and preventing motor-vehicle-related injury and deaths, improving environmental health, while stimulating economic development, and ensuring access for all people.<</p>
With this goal in mind, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified transportation policies that can have profound positive impact on health. CDC supports strategies that can provide a balanced portfolio of transportation choices that supports health and reduces health care costs. Transportation policy can:
Reduce injuries associated with motor vehicle crashes
Encourage healthy community design
Promote safe and convenient opportunities for physical activity by supporting active transportation infrastructure
Reduce human exposure to air pollution and adverse health impacts associated with these pollutants
Ensure that all people have access to safe, healthy, convenient, and affordable transportation
The current U.S. transportation infrastructure focuses on motor vehicle travel and provides limited support for other transportation options for most Americans.
Physical activity and active transportation have declined compared to previous generations. The lack of physical activity is a major contributor to the steady rise in rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and other chronic health conditions in the United States.
Motor vehicle crashes continue to be the leading cause of injury-related death for many age groups. Pedestrians and bicyclists are at an even greater risk of death from crashes than those who travel by motor vehicles.
Many Americans view walking and bicycling within their communities as unsafe because of traffic and the lack of sidewalks, crosswalks, and bicycle facilities.
Although using public transportation has historically been safer than highway travel in light duty vehicles, highway travel has grown more quickly than other modes of travel.
A lack of efficient alternatives to automobile travel disproportionately affects vulnerable populations such as the poor, the elderly, people who have disabilities and children by limiting access to jobs, health care, social interaction, and healthy foods.
Although motor vehicle emissions have decreased significantly over the past three decades, air pollution from motor vehicles continues to contribute to the degradation of our environment and adverse respiratory and cardiovascular health