Gilbert flight attendant joins 8 others suing CDC over mask mandate on flights
GILBERT, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- A group of flight attendants is so desperate to ditch their masks, they’re suing the CDC. One of them is from Gilbert.
“As a flight attendant, it’s very restrictive wearing the mask,” said Stacy LaValle, a flight attendant from Gilbert. “It is also very unsafe. We wanted to come together and put a lawsuit against The CDC.
This comes as several airline CEOs are asking The White House to drop the federal mask mandate on flights. “Masks inhibit effective crew communication,” said LaValle. “As crew members, that’s one of the most important things with your pilots and flight attendants is having that effective crew communication.”
Throughout Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, you’ll find signs reminding travelers that masks are still federally mandated. Earlier this month, the TSA announced it is extending mask mandates on planes and in airports at least through April 18th, based on recommendations from the CDC.
In a statement online, the TSA wrote, “During that time, CDC will work with government agencies to help inform a revised policy framework for when, and under what circumstances, masks should be required in the public transportation corridor. This revised framework will be based on the COVID-19 community levels, risk of new variants, national data, and the latest science.”
Travelers wonder what those revisions will look like. “People are not physically distancing whatsoever, and they’re coming from all different countries, all different places,” said traveler Lora Clarke. “I think it should be extended.”
“Personally, I would like to see them gone, but with the protection of other folks, I’m fine with wearing them,” said Linda Stephens from the airport Monday.
“We just ask that it be personal choice,” said LaValle. “If some people want to wear them, by all means, wear them.”
The flight attendants argue the masks obstruct breathing, make it challenging to respond to emergencies quickly and put them in danger when passengers don’t comply. “It’s scary, almost to a point, because you are required to enforce it on an airplane, but you’re also afraid for your own safety because you don’t know if somebody is going to get upset and assault you,” said LaValle.
The CDC would not comment, saying it does not discuss pending litigation.
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