A U.S. official said that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are developing guidelines to ease the mask ban on planes and buses next month. The existing requirement for face covering will still be in effect until April 18.
Transportation Security Administration enforces the requirement. The deadline was set for March 18 but the Transportation Security Administration extended it by one month so that the agency could develop more specific policies. This requirement applies to all modes of transportation, including planes, trains and buses.
According to the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the announcement head of time, the CDC is developing a “revised policy framework” for when masks should be required on transit systems based off its newly released “COVID-19 community levels” metric.
On March 3, more than 90% Americans reside in locations with moderate or low COVID-19 community levels. This is where face-masking indoors is prohibited.
“We have to look not only at the science with regard to transmission in masks but also the epidemiology and the frequency that we may encounter a variant of concern or a variant of interest in our travel corridors,” CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said on March 2, explaining why the agency was delaying removing the requirement for transit but allowed people to gather maskless in movie theaters and sports arenas.
Reuters reported first the news about the extension and review of policy.