Health

Mask Mandate Extended For Airlines, Public Transit Despite Relaxed CDC Guidance

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Dylan Housman Healthcare Reporter
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Thursday that Americans will have to wear a mask on public transport for at least a little bit longer.

The federal mask mandate on airline flights and public transit will be extended until at least April 18, the agency announced. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) ultimately decided to extend the mandate at the recommendation of the CDC.

The TSA’s mandate initially went into effect on Feb. 1, 2021 and was set to expire in May 2021, but it has continually been extended since. The CDC said it will work with other government agencies between now and April 18 to “inform a revised policy framework for when, and under what circumstances, masks should be required in the public transportation corridor.”

Public transportation and flights are one of the last remaining places Americans are forced to mask. Hawaii announced this week it will drop its mask mandate later this month, at which point all 50 states will have rescinded statewide mask mandates. Some local mandates remain in place, but those, too, are continuing to fall after the CDC relaxed its mask guidance.

Under the new guidance, counties across America are divided into three risk levels based on metrics like COVID-19 transmission and hospitalizations. Only Americans living in the highest-risk communities are advised to mask in indoor situations at all times. (RELATED: Where The Heck Is Anthony Fauci? People Are Talking)

President Joe Biden took credit for suppressing the pandemic in his recent State of the Union speech, arguing that it’s time for Americans to begin moving back to life as normal. It’s unclear when his federal agencies will do that as it pertains to mask mandates.