This morning, the Biden announced that it will extend the soon-to-expire federal mask mandates by just over two weeks. The new mandate expiration date is May 3, 2022.
The previous mask mandate was set to expire on Monday, April 18 — which had already been extended by one month after the original mandate was set to be lifted in March. The Biden administration notes that the extension is designed to further evaluate the ongoing Covid-19 surge as a result of the Omicron variant. It will then reevaluate risk levels and make a further determination on Tuesday, May 3.
“Since early April, there have been increases in the seven-day moving average of cases in the U.S. In order to assess the potential impact the rise of cases has on severe disease, including hospitalizations and deaths, and health care system capacity, the CDC Order will remain in place at this time,” the CDC said in a statement.
As a reminder, the federal mask mandate is the reason why people are required to wear masks on airplanes and public transportation. So, if you’re flying in America between April 18 and May 3, you can expect to keep donning your face covering.
This decision comes even as the Biden administration has faced increasing pressure to lift Covid-19 mask mandates on airlines, among other pressure to remove Covid testing requirements for people traveling internationally.
As other countries have shown, though, lifting the Covid mask requirements on airlines has resulted in staff shortages because — and this should come as no surprise — flight attendants and pilots have faced spikes in Covid cases. In America, rampant flight cancellations and delays as a result of weather, airline mergers, and more have already resulted in massive problems for a public increasingly willing to get back in the air.