U.S. plans to extend transport mask mandate through Jan. 18, sources say

People wear masks while riding on the subway as cases of the infectious coronavirus Delta variant continue to rise in New York City, New York
People wear masks while riding on the subway in New York City.
REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

By David Shepardson

President Joe Biden’s administration plans to extend requirements for travelers to wear masks on airplanes, trains and buses and at airports and train stations through Jan. 18 to address ongoing COVID-19 risks, three sources told Reuters.

Major U.S. airlines were informed of the planned extension on a call with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday, the three people briefed on the matter said. A separate call with aviation unions is planned for Wednesday, a source said.

The current TSA transportation mask order runs through Sept 13.

TSA declined comment and CDC officials did not immediately comment. A spokeswoman for Airlines for America, a trade association representing American Airlines Co, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines and others, declined to comment.

The current CDC order, which has been in place since soon after Biden took office in January, requires the use of face masks on nearly all forms of public transportation.

It requires face masks to be worn by all travelers on airplanes, ships, trains, subways, buses, taxis and ride-shares and at transportation hubs such as airports, bus or ferry terminals, train and subway stations, and seaports.

The requirements have been the source of some friction, especially aboard U.S. airlines, where some travelers have refused to wear masks. The Federal Aviation Administration said on Tuesday that since Jan. 1 it has received reports from airlines of 2,867 passengers refusing to wear a mask.


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