Travelers will have to continue to wear masks while on planes, trains and buses until January 18, 2022 as the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) extended the mandate.
The original rules were due to expire on September 13. But with the delta strain of the coronavirus triggering a surge in COVID-19 cases nationwide, that expiration has been extended four months. The TSA never eased the requirements, even as the CDC began saying at the start of the summer that fully vaccinated people did not have to wear masks anymore.
The federal government has taken point with regards to handling directives on mask wearing as it relates to transportation. People who violate or otherwise ignore the mandate face fines. The rules apply at all airports and train stations, as well as onboard planes, trains and buses. Children under the age of 2 and people with certain disabilities are exempt.
The question now is, how will passengers react to the extension of the mask mandate? This year has already seen a slew of incidents involving terrible passenger behavior, primarily on commercial airlines. A number of confrontations have occurred when passengers mistreat airline workers who remind people they have to wear a mask. The FAA has been attempting to crack down on unruly passengers, threatening massive fines and even prison time.
Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, told The Washington Post that the extension of the masks requirement “would help tremendously to keep passengers and aviation workers safe.”