Various officials in the federal government have elected to extend the requirement for mandated masks on planes and other forms of public transportation for at least one more month, or through the middle of April, while allegedly making moves towards lifting the rule eventually.
While the federal mask mandate was originally set to expire on March 18, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recently declared that the requirement will be extended through April 18 instead.
According to the TSA, an additional month of mask mandates will theoretically provide the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) adequate time for creating new, specific policies that pertain to COVID cases in local communities, as well as at a national level.
In addition, the CDC will also evaluate whether or not new variants may emerge, without detailing how such a determination might be made.
The TSA is the federal entity responsible for enforcing various masks rules, which apply to trains, buses, planes, and all transit hubs.
The decision to extend the mask mandate is curious, given that over 90 percent of the American population dwells in an area that is now considered “low” or “medium” risk with regards to COVID.
As a result, the CDC no longer formerly recommends mandated face masks in various indoor settings.
Hopes have risen that the federal mask mandate on transportation may be eliminated in a few months, especially as this mask mandate remains one of the last defiant restrictions implemented after the onset of the pandemic.
However, the decision to extend the mask mandate has drawn heavy criticism as well, with many questioning why the CDC will allow people without masks to pack together in sports arenas and movie theaters, though planes for some strange reason remain unacceptable despite having the cleanest, most frequently filtered air, unlike many other venues.
White House Press Secretary Psaki claims that travel policies are allegedly more complicated for setting standards in comparison to entertainment venue policies.