Biden Administration Will Extend Transportation Mask Mandate

·2 min read

The Biden administration will extend its mass transportation mask mandate for another month despite waning Omicron variant transmission rates and the relaxation of mitigation measures in red and blue states alike.

“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 agency wrote in a statement Thursday. The extension applies to plane, train, and bus travel.

Most mask mandates for indoor venues have been dropped even in populated cities and states that were notorious for strict pandemic mitigation protocols, such as New York City and Chicago. Airports, however, will still require that travelers wear masks inside per the latest update.

“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,” a Biden administration official told CNN earlier Thursday in advance of the expected TSA announcement. “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.”

Another source told CNN that if the Covid-19 continues to improve and case rates continue to dip, the TSA may suspend the mandate before the 30 days have elapsed.

When asked why airports would maintain their mask mandates even if the cities in which they’re located have dropped them, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday that air travelers aren’t “static” and people departing from a high-level Covid-19 areas could arrive at low-level Covid-19 areas, still posing a transmission risk.

More from National Review