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Rideshare Driver Sues CDC Over Federal Mask Mandate

Published on Jul 7, 2021 at 8:56 am in News.

According to Business Insider, Justin Mahwikizi, an Uber or Lyft driver, is suing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) over its federal mask mandate. The lawsuit claims the mandate was unconstitutional and limited Mahwikizi’s freedom of religion and freedom of speech because he had to refuse service to unmasked passengers.

In an interview with Insider, Mahwikizi said, “It’s against my Christian beliefs to refuse service to someone in need, referring to the Good Samaritan parable of Jesus Christ and the Bible. And so I’m arguing that the CDC is infringing on my religious practice rights that’s forcing me to deny service to someone in need.”

News of this lawsuit broke as broader discussion regarding the CDC updating its mask-wearing stance for fully vaccinated passengers started happening. The current guidance from the CDC says all travelers must cover their faces when on public transit, including planes, buses, and rideshares.

Government officials are on both sides of the mask mandate. In June, Senator Ted Cruz led a group of senators in announcing a bill seeking to end the federal mask mandate for those who are vaccinated. Others, like Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, have said wearing a mask is still a “matter of safety, but it’s also a matter of respect.”

The lawsuit from Mahwikizi sought a preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order to stop the CDC and the Department of Health & Human Services from enforcing masks. Mahwikizi, who is representing himself, also said, “The [mandate] is arbitrary, irrational, and capricious because the Federal Defendants failed to reasonably explain why other measures are insufficient to tackle the rapidly declining COVID-19 infection and death rates.”

Mahwikizi started drafting his complaint a few months ago. He started following the news coverage of Lucas Wall, who sued several airlines, and reached out to Wall when he found out he was also representing himself.

While Insider reached out to the CDC for comment, a spokesperson has not released a statement. As a result, it’s unclear how the legal proceedings will move forward at this time.

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