The Biden administration is extending the federal mask mandate for all transportation methods through May 3rd, just 15 days after it is set to expire.
The Transportation Security Administration’s mask mandate for travel on airplanes, in airports and on buses and rail systems was originally set to expire on April 18th. The two-week extension comes from CDC order based off of a spike in COVID-19 cases.
“In order to assess the potential impact the rise of cases has on severe disease, including hospitalizations and deaths, and health care system capacity, the CDC Order will remain in place at this time. At CDC’s recommendation, TSA will extend the security directive and emergency amendment for 15 days, through May 3, 2022,” A CDC spokesperson told The Hill.
In response to the announcement, Airlines for America, which represents major U.S. airlines, sent a letter on Wednesday to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra and CDC Director Rochelle Walensky calling for an end to the mask mandate.
“It makes no sense to require masks on a plane when masks are not recommended in places like restaurants, bars or crowded sports facilities. Further, the burden of enforcing these requirements has fallen on airline employees for the past two years, oftentimes creating challenging situations with frustrated passengers,” the letter reads.