Sen. Rand Paul, along with several Republican colleagues, is introducing legislation to prohibit federal mask mandates on public transportation related to the coronavirus pandemic.
The bill, “Travel Mask Mandate Repeal Act of 2021,” is set to be introduced by Paul, R-Ky., Wednesday, and is co-sponsored by Republican Sens. Mike Braun of Indiana, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Roger Marshall of Kansas, and Roger Wicker of Mississippi.
The legislation prohibits federal agencies from imposing “any federal requirement related to COVID-19 that an individual wear a face mask when utilizing any conveyance…or transportation hub.”
“The federal government forcing the American people to continue to wear masks despite the fact that we’ve already reached herd immunity is ridiculous and needs to end immediately,” Paul told Fox News. “I am introducing the Travel Mask Mandate Repeal Act of 2021 to put a stop to this nanny state mandate of requiring masks on public transportation.”
He added: “In a free county people will evaluate their personal risk factors and are smart enough to ultimately make medical decisions like wearing a mask themselves.”
Braun added that it is “far, far past time to end the federal government’s contradictory one-size-fits-all COVID mandates, including the rule requiring masks on planes and public transportation,” with Cotton warning that the current mask mandate “discourages family travel and forces Americans with children—especially those with disabilities—to cancel travel or else live in fear that an untimely tantrum or bad day could ruin their trip and cost them more than a thousand dollars in fines.”
Wicker, encouraged individuals to get the coronavirus vaccine, saying it “significantly lowers the risk of contracting and becoming sick from the coronavirus across all activities, including travel.”
The bill, cited guidance that The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued in May on masks and face coverings, which stated that fully vaccinated individuals are no longer required to wear masks indoors or outdoors, or physically distance.
The CDC, at the time, said fully vaccinated individuals were still advised to wear masks while in crowded indoor settings, such as while riding public transportation and in hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters.
The CDC has not issued updated guidance on mask-wearing on public transportation at this point.
Meanwhile, Fox News first reported last month that Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., introduced a similar bill, which would prohibit the federal government from requiring individuals to wear masks on public transportation as cities and states began easing COVID-10 restrictions.
Also in June, Scott also introduced the Freedom to Fly Act, which prohibits officials from the Transportation Security Administration from requiring Americans to show proof that they have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
The bill would also prohibit TSA workers from requiring American travelers to produce a passport for domestic flight to protect the privacy of personal health information.
The White House last month said the federal government will not support a system requiring Americans to carry a so-called “vaccine passport” while suggesting the matter will be left to the private sector amid the new guidance on masks.