Just when frequent flyers were hoping to finally get some relief from the CDC’s masking rules, the agency has decided on Thursday to extend the requirements for another month. They are now set to expire on April 18.
The TSA has previously expected the mask mandate would expire after March 18, but it will be extended by a month due to the CDC’s recommendation.
During that time, the CDC will work to revise its framework around when masks should be required on forms of transportation, basing its assessment on COVID case levels, new variant risks and other data.
US travelers and commuters have been required to wear masks covering their mouths and noses on nearly all forms of public transportation and inside transportation hubs for nearly two years now. The mandates have been extended twice before.
The latest extension comes as most states have dropped masking mandates and the CDC has eased its federal masking guidance as well. But even as cases continue to decline, the CDC has decided to extend its COVID restrictions for some reason.
Of course, enforcing masking guidelines has proved “challenging” for the TSA. Airlines, the FAA and the federal security agency have issued a record number of fines to unruly passengers, with almost all of the incidents beginning due to non-compliance with masking rules.