If you were hoping to ditch that mask onboard your flight in January, think again. The federal government is reportedly planning to extend the federal mask mandate through March 18, 2022, representing an additional two-month extension.
Report – Federal Mask Mandate Extended To At Least March 18, 2022
The current federal mask mandate, which requires masks to be worn at airports and train stations and on airplanes, trains, and buses was first set to expire on September 13, 2021. But with the delta variant a growing concern in many parts of the United States, the mandate was extended to January 18, 2022. Now with the omicron variant a concern, the mandate will be extended till March 18, 2022.
Reuters, which broke the story, does not name its source, but when the mandate was extended the first time, airlines were informed of the extension on a call which included officials from the:
- Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
At the time, Marty Cetron, the CDC official who signed the mask mandate, noted:
“Masks are really powerful and we should make sure they’re part of our arsenal. The truth is that the unvaccinated portion that’s out there is extremely vulnerable.”
Masks have become a political flashpoint, with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) attributing the majority of bad behavior onboard airlines this year to mask compliance. Republicans in Congress have proposed a bill that would ban the federal government from requiring masks on public transport, including airplanes.
Thus far, both government officials and airlines have refused to comment on the rumored extension.
The federal mask mandate, originally set to expire on January 18th, will reportedly be extended through at least March 18th. The extension will likely contribute to more bad behavior in the skies and be formally announced later today.
image: American Airlines