CDC, TSA Extend Mask Mandate On Public Transportation

Following the directive of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has opted to extend the mask mandate on public transportation and in transportation hubs through April. 

The move will require employees and people frequenting these places to continue wearing masks until next month. The mandate was supposed to expire on March 18, but the CDC saw the need to extend it for one more month. The guideline will be lifted on March 18. 

Why Is The CDC Extending The Mandate?

In a statement issued Thursday, the TSA said the extension was necessary to give the CDC more time to develop new and more targeted policies that would take into risk levels of local and national communities into consideration, WABC-TV reported. 

The CDC also stated on its website that during the extended period, it 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.”

The agency added that the revised policies will consider the “COVID-19 community levels, risk of new variants, national data, and the latest science.” The CDC will announce the changes publicly soon.

What Will Be Covered By The Revised Policies?

The TSA has been enforcing the current mask mandate on different modes of public transportation, including planes, buses, trains, and transit hubs. The revised policies would likely cover the same modes once they are available. 

The updated policies are expected to help ease the tension between customers and employees of transportation hubs. Since 2021, several airlines have reported numerous cases of unruly passengers contesting the need to wear masks in planes. 

“I don’t think the airlines have any desire to impose their requirements at this point against a public that is wary of these restrictions,” Atmosphere Research Group travel-industry analyst Henry Harteveldt said. 

Meanwhile, the CDC has already relaxed its mask guidance for communities with fewer hospitalizations, patient admissions and total number of COVID-19 cases. In areas determined to be at low risk, residents are no longer required to wear masks, even in indoor public places. 

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