Sen. Rick Scott introduces bill prohibiting federal rules requiring masks on public transportation

Muna Hassan

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A woman boards the subway.Photo by Ono Kosuki from Pexels

Florida Senator Rick Scott, R-Fla., introduced legislation Thursday that would prohibit the federal government from requiring residents across the country to wear masks while on public transportation.

The Stop Mandating Additional Requirements for Travel (SMART) Act would terminate the current federal mask mandate for transit systems based on an executive order signed by President Biden in January.

Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidance regarding face mask requirements in May for fully vaccinated individuals, face mandates continue to remain in place for public transportation.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) extended the face mask requirement for public transportation through September 13, 2021.

“Americans are working hard to recover from the devastation of COVID-19 and travel is critical to getting our economy fully re-opened. Since the start of the pandemic, I have supported wearing a mask to protect yourself and others,” Scott said.

Adding, “Now, the science has shown we can change course, and mask mandates are being lifted across the country. Just like the federal government should not be in the business of requiring Americans to turn over their vaccination records, it should not be mandating that people wear masks on public transportation.”

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People wait for a train to arrive.Photo by mentatdgt from Pexels

The CDC has said that fully vaccinated Americans do not need to wear face masks or face coverings indoors, outdoors or adhere to physical distancing recommendations.

However, the CDC still recommends that masks should still be worn when in crowded indoor areas, including homeless shelters, hospitals, prisons and public transportation.

The SMART Act is not the only transportation-related policy Scott has introduced this month.

He also sponsored the Freedom to Fly Act, which would prohibit TSA from requiring traveling Americans to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

“The science just doesn’t support keeping this policy in place,” said Scott. “We have to listen to the science and work together to move America forward.”

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Muna has been a journalist and fitness professional for more than 10 years. With degrees in exercise science and dietetics, Muna focuses on informing people about how to lead a healthier lifestyle. Muna is the owner of Body and Mind by Muna, an online gym for at-home workouts, as well as MuslimahFit, a fitness app for women.

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