Sen. Rick Scott pushes to drop federal mask requirement for public transportation

Florida senator says federal government 'should not be mandating that people wear masks on public transportation'

FIRST ON FOX: Republican Sen. Rick Scott is expected to introduce a bill that would prohibit the federal government from requiring individuals to wear masks on public transportation as cities and states begin easing COVID-19 restrictions.

Scott, R-Fla., in introducing the "Stop Mandating Additional Requirements for Travel (SMART) Act, told Fox News he has "supported wearing a mask to protect yourself and others" since the beginning of the pandemic, but that now "the science just doesn't support keeping this policy in place."

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"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," Scott told Fox News.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in May issued new guidance on masks and face coverings, saying that fully vaccinated individuals are no longer required to wear masks indoors or outdoors, or physically distance.

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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.

The guidance, though, has raised questions on how individuals can prove they are fully vaccinated and therefore not required to wear a mask.

Earlier this month, 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.

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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.