Photo Credit: Uriel Mont
Mask On: TSA Face Mask Mandate Extended To September
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention took a huge but tentative step last week towards post-pandemic living by relaxing the rules on outdoor mask-wearing as more people get vaccinated. But stricter protocols still remain in place for gathering indoors and during travel. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced an extension of the face mask mandate on multiple forms of transport. This includes planes, trains, buses, and all forms of public transportation.
The order was originally issued by the newly elected 46th President of the United States, Joe Biden, as one of his first executive orders back in January. The face mask mandate was scheduled to expire on May 11th but will now continue until at least September 3rd, 2021.
At the time, Biden cited saving lives as the top priority.
“It is the policy of my Administration to halt the spread of coronavirus…by relying on the best available data and science-based public health measures,” Biden wrote in his executive order. “Put simply, masks and other public health measures reduce the spread of the disease, particularly when communities make widespread use of such measures, and thus save lives.”
The TSA has the support from multiple corners of the airline industry. Tori Emerson Barnes, U.S. Travel Association Executive Vice President for Public Affairs and Policy, said in a statement,
“Extending the federal mask mandate for travel is the right move and has the travel industry’s full support. The universal wearing of masks in the travel environment is both an effective safeguard against spreading the virus and boosts public confidence in traveling—both of which are paramount for generating a sustained reopening of the travel economy.”