Chicago’s O’Hare Airport Suggests It Will Continue Forced Masking

mask on airplane
Getty Images/Yaroslav Astakhov

Chicago’s O’Hare Airport on Tuesday suggested that it will continue to force individuals to wear masks — a move which would effectively ignore the ruling from a federal judge who on Monday deemed President Biden’s federal mask mandate illegal.

“The safety and security of passengers and employees is the highest priority for the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA),” the airport said in a relatively unclear statement Tuesday afternoon.

“The CDA will continue to follow, observe and enforce all guidance by federal, state and local health and security authorities. This includes Illinois Executive Order 2022-06, which requires masks on public transportation and in transportation hubs,” it added:

That particular order requires all individuals to wear a face covering “where federally required; (2) on planes, buses, trains and other forms of public transportation and in transportation hubs such as airports and train and bus stations.” However, due to the federal judge’s ruling, the federal mask rule is no longer in effect. 

O’Hare’s announcement follows the ruling from United States District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, a Trump appointee, who on Monday deemed the Biden administration’s federal mask mandate illegal.

“But the mandate exceeded the CDC statutory authority, improperly invoked the good cause exception to notice and comment rulemaking, and failed to adequately explain its decisions,” she wrote in part, adding, “Because our system does not permit agencies to act unlawfully even in the pursuit of desirable ends, the court declares unlawful and vacates the mask mandate.”

As a result, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will not enforce the rule, a Biden administration official confirmed Monday. Shortly after, several major airlines announced that masks are now optional on their flights.

Southwest Airlines, for example, said in a statement that both employees and customers “will be able to choose whether they would like to wear a mask on flights, at domestic ​airports, and at some international locations,” as others released similar statements:


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