With the two year-anniversary of COVID-19 mandates just around the corner, many jurisdictions are beginning to loosen and repeal restrictions. However, on Thursday the Transportation Security Administration announced that it is extending its mask mandate for travel through to April 18.
In a statement regarding the use of masks on public modes of transportation the TSA said, "At CDC’s recommendation, TSA will extend the security directive for mask use on public transportation and transportation hubs for one month, through April 18th."
"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. We will communicate any updates publicly if and/or when they change."
The TSA announced the required use of masks on public transport in January 2021, and the current mandate was set to expire on March 18.
The mask mandates have faced pushback as of late. In December, a number of US airline CEOs disputed the need for masks on planes, calling into question their effectiveness given airplanes' excellent air filtration systems.
As NPR reports, in February a letter was sent to White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeffrey Zients by a number of the travel industry's "biggest players," urging the Biden administration to drop the mandates.
"As leading U.S. travel and business organizations," the letter said, "we respectfully urge the Administration to chart a clear course for replacing pandemic-era travel advisories, requirements and restrictions with endemic focused policies of a 'new normal' that enable travel to resume fully, freely and safely."
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