In the latest Delta variant fallout, the Biden Administration is expected to extend its rules mandating masks on planes, trains and other forms of public transportation into January. The news comes as airlines are beginning to report a drop in bookings amid the pandemic's 4th surge in the U.S.
President Joe Biden’s administration plans to extend requirements for travelers to wear masks on airplanes, trains and buses and at airports and train stations through January 18 to address ongoing COVID-19 risks, three sources told Reuters.
Major U.S. airlines were informed of the planned extension on a call with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday, the three people briefed on the matter said.
The current TSA transportation mask order runs through September 13.
TSA declined comment and CDC officials did not immediately comment.
The current CDC order, which has been in place since soon after Biden took office in January, requires the use of face masks on nearly all forms of public transportation.
It requires face masks to be worn by all travelers on airplanes, ships, trains, subways, buses, taxis and ride-shares and at transportation hubs such as airports, bus or ferry terminals, train and subway stations and seaports.
The requirements have been the source of some friction, especially aboard U.S. airlines, where some travelers have refused to wear masks. The Federal Aviation Administration said on Tuesday that since January 1 it has received reports from airlines of 2,867 passengers refusing to wear a mask.
Photo credit: Travelers will have to wear masks until at least January under new rules from the Biden administration. Cory Hancock/International Monetary Fund / Flickr