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Two adults and a child sitting in a row on a plane, the adults are wearing medical face masks
H_Ko | Adobe Stock

Will the Federal Mask Mandate on Planes and Trains End Soon?

With COVID-19 infection rates on the decline, many states and cities around the country are dropping their indoor mask mandates. However, face coverings are still required on all public transport (including airplanes) due to a federal rule. Is this likely to end any time soon?

The current Transportation Security Administration (TSA) mandate requires masks on “all transportation networks throughout the United States, including at airports, onboard commercial aircraft, on over-the-road buses, and on commuter bus and rail systems.” This ruling had previously been set to expire on March 18, 2022, however, the TSA just extended the mandate for one more month.

Two passengers on airplane wearing medical face masks as sun comes in through plane window
chartphoto | Adobe Stock

The TSA released a statement saying, “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.”

However, it does sound like the TSA is considering changing the mandate in the near future. In the same statement, the TSA noted, “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. “

The TSA’s mask requirement is based on advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Jade Fulce, Public Affairs Specialist for the CDC, told SmarterTravel “CDC will continue to assess the risk of getting and spreading COVID-19 during travel and—as needed—we will make updates to our recommendations based on science and our understanding of the current situation.”

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