US Extends Travel Mask Mandate by 15 Days

The US government will extend by 15 days its requirements that all travelers wear face masks on all commercial, aircraft, in airports and on other forms of public transportation. The requirement had been set to expire on April 18, and now is set to expire May 3.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended the move as a precautionary response to rising average US Covid-19 case counts amid the spread of subvariants of the omicron variant. According to the New York Times, the rolling seven-day average US case count rose from about 28,500 on April 3 to about 32,800 on Tuesday.

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Under the requirement, individuals across all transportation networks throughout the United States, including at airports, onboard commercial aircraft, on over-the-road buses and on commuter bus and rail systems must wear facial coverings, according to the U.S. Transportation Security Administration.

The requirement has drawn the ire of some government officials and travel industry executives alike. The board of directors of industry association Airlines for America last month sent a letter to US President Joe Biden and members of his administration, including Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, urging them to drop the mandate. Meanwhile, 21 states last month filed a federal lawsuit against several U.S. agencies, including the CDC and TSA, calling for the immediate repeal of the mandate. The lawsuit is pending in a U.S. federal district court.

Most consumers, meanwhile, do not appear as resolute. About 60 percent of about 2,200 U.S. adults surveyed last month by Morning Consult indicated they support rules requiring masks for airline passengers, though that figure has dropped from the 70 percent recorded in January.

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