According to an administration official, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), it has extended its COVID-19 mandate until April 18. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working on guidance to ease the national mask mandate for buses, airplanes and other mass transit.
Fox News reported that TSA would extend the security directive regarding mask use in public transport and transportation hubs to one month on CDC’s recommendation. It will do so until April 18th.
“During this time, CDC and government agencies will collaborate to create a revised policy framework that will determine when and under which circumstances masks should be required along the public transportation corridor. The revised framework will be based upon the COVID-19 community level, risk of new variants and national data as well as the most recent science. The official stated that any changes will be made public.
After 92 Republicans wrote a letter to TSA Administrator David Pekoske Wednesday, requesting that the agency fulfill its previous deadline of March 18 (which TSA announced in August 2021), the extension was granted.
Republican Representatives stated that “Given the strong declines observed in COVID-19-related cases and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recent guidance removing indoor mask requirements for many of the population, we believe TSA’s mask mandate should be permitted to expire earlier this month.” In their letter, Guy Reschenthaler from Pennsylvania and Doug LaMalfa from California wrote.
The letter was signed by Kevin McCarthy, the House GOP Leader from California, Steve Scalise, the Louisiana GOP Whip and Elise Stefanik, the Chair of the House Republican Conference.
They also stated that the rolling average of COVID-19 new cases has fallen by almost two-thirds since August 2021 when the agency was extended.
As of last week, more than 90% of Americans live in low or moderate COVID-19-transmission areas, meaning they can stop wearing masks indoors and social distancing in line with CDC guidance.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which has received 535 reports of unruly passengers related to face masks as of March 1, recorded 65% of total 814 reports.
Rand Paul (R-Ky.) announced this week that he would call a vote on his resolution to remove travel mask mandates for public transportation.
In a tweet on Thursday, the senator stated that “apparently government doesn’t want it to relinquish power and plans to expand the mask mandate for planes & transport,” “Not under my watch!” Next week, I will force a vote to end this unscientific mandate.
Late February saw a variety of travel groups, including the U.S. Travel Association and the American Hotel and Lodging Association, Airlines for America and U.S. Chamber of Commerce, write to Jeffrey Zients, White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, asking him to remove mask requirements, predeparture COVID-19 testing and to allow travel bans and other regulations to be used in the future.
Federal offense: Failure to wear a mask at airports can lead to fines of up to $3,000.