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Mask mandates for airplanes, trains and transit hubs that were set to expire next week will be extended to April 18, the Biden administration is expected to announce Thursday.
Between now and mid-April, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will work with other federal agencies "to help inform a revised policy framework for when, and under what circumstances, masks should be required in the public transportation corridor," an administration official told Reuters news agency.
Airlines and some government officials suspect this could be the last nationwide extension of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) mask mandates. The extension comes at the CDC's recommendation.
Airlines and travel groups had called on the administration to take action by March 18 to "repeal the federal mask mandate for public transportation or provide a clear road map to remove the mask mandate within 90 days," Reuters reported.
While former President Donald Trump rejected requests from public health agencies to require masks in transit, President Biden mandated them in various transportation venues soon after taking office in January 2021.
The current CDC order requires masks to be worn on airplanes, ships, trains, subways, buses, taxis, ride-shares and at airports, bus or ferry terminals, train and subway stations, and seaports, Reuters said.
Last month, the CDC eased its guidance for face coverings. Mask requirements in federal buildings in and around the nation's capital, and other places with low or medium levels of COVID-19, have been dropped, Reuters reported.
The CDC said last week that 93% of the U.S. population is in locations where COVID levels are low enough that people do not need to wear masks.
The U.S. Transportation Security Administration has more on mask mandates for travelers.
SOURCE: Reuters, March 10, 2022
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