You’re going to have to keep your mask on a bit longer if you’re taking public transportation. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is extending its current mask mandate by a month to April 18.
The news comes just about a week before it was set to initially expire on March 18, according to NBC News.
The extension comes from recommendations the CDC put forward, NBC reports:
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.
This leaves the door open for the mandate to be terminated early if the science presents itself.
The outlet reports a group of 92 Republicans sent a letter to the TSA “demanding” the mask mandate end by March 18. That’s obviously not going to happen.
All of this is happening just after the CDC relaxed its mask guidance for communities where Covid levels were low or stable and where hospitals weren’t under high strain, according to NPR:
“With declining hospitalization rates, increased immunity, widely available vaccines and cutting-edge treatments on the horizon, America is reaching an inflection point where endemic-focused policies can replace pandemic-driven restrictions,” a letter signed by Airlines for America, the American Hotel & Lodging Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Travel Association, said.
It was sent to Jeffrey Zients on February 25. He’s the White House coronavirus response coordinator.
So, at least for the time being, it seems masks will be staying on when you board a flight or get on a train, even if you don’t necessarily have to wear them the second you get back off.