With the U.S. not yet fully vaccinated and ongoing anti-masker disturbances on airlines, news of a federal mask mandate extension for all public transportation systems is no surprise.
The Biden administration said on Friday it is extending face mask requirements across all U.S. transportation networks through Sept. 13 to address the spread of COVID-19.
The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) requirements that took effect on Feb. 1 were to set to expire on May 11. They cover workers and travelers at airports, on board commercial aircraft, on over-the-road buses, and on commuter bus and rail systems through Sept. 13.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued the federal mask mandate in nearly all transportation modes in late January, including on ride-share vehicles. The order does not aply to private cars or commercial trucks being driven by a sole operator.
TSA told Reuters that since the transit mask requirements took effect Feb. 1 they have “largely experienced voluntary compliance.”
TSA said “transportation system operators have reported almost 2,000 passengers for refusing to wear a face mask. TSA will assess a civil penalty if necessary.”
In March, the head of the Federal Aviation Administration indefinitely extended a “zero tolerance policy” on unruly air passengers first imposed in January, after hundreds of reported incidents.
FAA Administrator Steve Dickson extended the policy set to expire March 30, “as we continue to do everything we can to confront the pandemic.” The FAA said the extension will last at least as long as the federal transportation face mask order remains in effect.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Leslie Adler and Howard Goller)
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Photo credit: The CDC mask wearing mandate is extended on all U.S. transportation systems until September 13, 2021. Jose Luis Pelaez / Getty