Denver airport drops mask requirements after judge strikes down federal mandate

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Passengers pass through the security checkpoint at Denver International Airport on October 22, 2021.

Updated April 19, 2022 at 3:08 p.m.

Passengers will no longer have to wear masks inside of Denver International Airport, or on most flights, after a federal judge in Florida voided the Biden administration's mandate for travelers

District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle wrote in her summary judgment on Monday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s mask mandate for planes, trains, buses and other modes of public transit was “unlawful.” 

The airport confirmed on Twitter that TSA agents will no longer enforce the rule. 

“As a result, masks are no longer required at DEN,” the airport said. “We will be removing mask signage (which might take a bit of time).” 

Several major airlines, including Southwest and United, also dropped their requirements soon after the ruling.

Airports and other public transportation venues had been some of the few holdouts still requiring universal masking, due to the federal rule. Many communities in Colorado have been without mask requirements for several months. 

The order came less than a week after federal officials extended the mandate through the beginning of May. But Mizelle ruled that it “exceeded the CDC’s statutory authority” and violated rulemaking procedures. 

Other transit agencies across the state also took notice of the ruling and quickly dropped their mask rules. 

The Regional Transportation District said Tuesday that it will also remove its mask requirements for trains and buses, effective immediately. Its most recent masking policy was set to expire May 3.

Many regional airports, including Colorado Springs, have also removed their mask requirements.

Masks are still allowed in all venues, and many immunocompromised people have urged the public to continue wearing face coverings when possible.

Correction: This story has been updated to correct an error about RTD's mask policy.