The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is developing guidelines that will facilitate nationwide mask authorization on planes, buses and other mass transportation in the US next month, according to a US official, but existing face covering requirements will be extended until April 18.
The requirement, imposed by the US Transportation Security Administration, is set to expire on March 18, but has been extended by a month to allow time for the Public Health Agency to develop new, more targeted policies. This requirement extends to planes, buses, trains, and transportation hubs.
According to the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the head-of-time announcement, the CDC is developing a “revised policy framework” for when masks should be ordered on transportation systems based on the newly released COVID-19 community levels” measure.
As of March 3, more than 90 percent of the US population was in a location with low or moderate community levels of COVID-19, where public face coverings are no longer recommended indoors.
“We have to look at not only the science in terms of mask transmission but also the epidemiology and frequency that we may encounter with a disturbing variety of interest in our travel corridors,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walinsky. March 2, explaining why the agency delayed canceling the transit requirement but allowed people to gather without masks in movie theaters and sports arenas.
Reuters was the first to report the extension and policy review.