The TSA Is Extending Its Federal Mask Mandate Again

The mask mandate will now remain in effect until April 18

Woman Using Hand Sanitizer During Airplane Trip

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Don't throw out your face coverings just yet: While cities across the U.S. are dropping indoor mask requirements, the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) is extending its mask mandate once again.

Initially set to expire on March 18, the federal mask mandate will remain in effect until April 18, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendation. For travelers, this means that face coverings will still be required on domestic flights, trains, buses, rail systems, and transportation hubs like airports for at least another month.

"[Over the next month] 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," the national public health agency said in a statement Thursday. "This revised framework will be based on the COVID-19 community levels, risk of new variants, national data, and the latest science. We will communicate any updates publicly if and/or when they change."

The CDC first issued the mandate on January 29, 2021, which went into effect just a few days later. Since then, it has been extended several times.

The Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) has been a significant supporter behind airline mask mandates, saying in a recent statement that their "youngest passengers do not yet have access to the vaccine" and "passenger confidence in the safety of air travel is critical.

The extension of the mandate does not affect cruise lines, which have been lifting their face covering requirements since the end of February.

Article Sources
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  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Mask Use on Public Transportation." Accessed March 10, 2022.

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Order: Wearing of Face Masks While on Conveyances and at Transportation Hubs." Accessed March 10, 2022.