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TSA to Extend Travel Mask Mandate into April

Credit: Unsplash

With the gradual improvement in COVID cases in the United States, many authorities at federal and local levels have been easing face mask mandates. One of the remaining significant federal mandates is the requirement by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for individuals to wear face masks on crowded forms of transportation like planes, trains, and buses. Initially set to expire soon, this mandate has now been extended for an additional month.

The TSA has announced that the travel mask mandate will stay in place until April 18, necessitating the continued use of face masks on these modes of travel. During this period, ongoing assessment of the pandemic’s status in the US will guide decisions on potentially scaling back the mandate.

According to a government official speaking to CNN, “CDC will collaborate with governmental bodies to develop an updated policy framework for determining when and under what circumstances masks should be mandatory in public transportation. This revised framework will consider factors such as COVID-19 community levels, variant risks, national data, and the latest scientific findings. Any forthcoming changes will be communicated to the public as they occur.”

Depending on the COVID case trajectory, there is a possibility of lifting the mandate before the 30-day extension concludes, though officials are cautious and aim for assurance of sustained positive trends before any changes.

Another official stressed, “Our primary goal is to avoid lifting the mandate prematurely only to have to reinstate it later.”

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