A bipartisan cadre of U.S. Senators has expressed impatience over the continuing federal mask mandate on airplanes, with Republicans attempting to end the mandate prior to its September expiration date.
U.S. Senators Express Impatience Over Mask Mandate On Airplanes
Earlier this week, Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) introduced an amendment to rail and safety legislation that would end the mask mandate ahead of its September 13, 2021 expiration date. On a party line vote, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee rejected the amendment.
Even so, Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) also indicated his impatience with the mask mandate and urged a non-binding resolution from the Senate that would encourage the Biden Administration to “reconsider” the rule. Schatz noted:
“Sometimes they move slowly. Sometimes they’re a little too precautionary.”
Others, like Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) were not so diplomatic:
“I think we should express the sense of this committee that what is being foisted on us now in the name of science is hogwash.”
Later on in the day, Transportation Security Pete Buttigieg appeared at a Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee where he faced questions over the mask mandate from different U.S. Senators.
Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) asked Buttigieg why travelers could did not have to wear masks in crowded bars, but were forced to on airplanes. She cited a personal conversation with flight attendants suggesting that the continuing mask mandate was behind the recent surge in misbehavior onboard.
Buttigieg cited two reasons for the continuing mask mandate, including children onboard and the uniqueness of “a number of people from different places passing through the same small place.” While Buttigieg added that he was also impatient with the mask mandate, he indicated the mask mandate may be even more-opened ended.
“I share the impatience to be able to return to where they’re not required…This is something we need to continue to revisit. And while I haven’t seen a specific rubric that says if we hit this benchmark we can say goodbye to the masks, which we’re all eager to do, I do think it’s of course true that the sooner we get as many people as possible vaccinated, the sooner we can get there.”
While it is likely the current federal mask mandate will remain in place for air travelers until after Labor Day, growing impatience on both sides of the aisle suggests that a long-term mask mandate is likely unfeasible. Passenger behavior over the summer months will be a key indicator of whether the mask mandate continues into autumn.
The mask rules are fairly weak. N95 masks not required, only flimsy ill-fitting masks. The pandemic is not over, unfortunately.
@derek and @Lucas – An N95 mandate would completely eliminate the entire point of the mandate, which was to protect other people. N95 masks only protect the wearer. They do almost nothing to protect others, as they filter air entering the mask while allowing unfiltered air to exit around the sides. As such, it makes zero sense to force vaccinated people to wear them, since they are at almost no risk of contracting covid. It also makes no sense to force unvaccinated people to wear them, since the only people they are endangering are themselves, and in America we allow people to engage in risky behavior (see: cigarettes, fast food, Tinder, etc). We are at least a month past the point at which anyone who wanted a vaccine could get one. The mandate needs to go. If you want to wear an N95 mask to protect yourself, feel free. Otherwise leave everyone else alone.
When a flight attendant or two gets killed, or a whole plane gets taken down in a large scuffle.. then maybe,just maybe they’ll start to revisit the idea of stopping the cooties game and silly made up rules.
Even as someone who are FAR from what you might consider “liberal”, I would instead propose a stricter mask mandate on flights, requiring N95 for all passengers. It’s such a small thing to do, no issue at all. I would not feel comfortable flying right now seated next to — or even near — an unmasked passenger. I don’t get why anyone who’s not fully vaccinated would even contemplating flying without an N95 mask. The cost and discomfort truly is negligible.
While they’re at it, they can get rid of the ridiculous testing requirement to come home from abroad, especially if you’re vaccinated.
The simple truth is that there is zero science to support the continued need to wear masks on airplanes. The excuses that Buttigieg provided are just that.
The American people have been told that if they are fully vaccinated they can resume their normal lives. But we have in the mask mandate for all public transportation a major impediment to that. And it’s an impediment that no one in authority has provided a solid rational to justify.
I draw a direct correlation between the mask mandate and the significant rise in violence and misbehavior on airplanes. In my view a great many people are tired of the way government has become much more dictatorial during the pandemic with officials at all levels of government issuing emergency decrees right and left. Decrees that often had zero foundation in science and many of which have caused significant harm to people. It’s this fatigue along with continued mask mandates which is driving what we are seeing especially since flights are now full.
@121Pilot Buttigieg and the lady Dr director of the CDC said the reason for masks needed on pubic transport including planes, while not in restaurants, is that in public transport you are close to total strangers for maybe hours. While in a restaurant you are in the company, though maybe actually further physically separated and for a shorter time, of close friends and family. Sounds like great logic and common sense to me………..
Ok but what about movie theaters? That’s a bunch of strangers in close proximity just like an airplane. But without the benefit of the airplanes ventilation system that is specifically designed to prevent disease transmission.
And again it should be noted that the CDC says fully vaccinated individuals can return to normal life. So why do we all need to wear masks on planes? Those who choose to not be vaccinated don’t need to be protected. And those who can’t get vaccinated for some reason are still safe thanks to their ability to wear a mask and the design of the ventilation system.
Not sure whet the situation is in movie theatres, hopefully masks required, have not been in years, but have memories of people in hats coming in and sitting in front, or people behind constantly talking – probably why I stopped going……
You seems to place a lot of faith in a planes ventilation system….. I do not, sitting shoulder to shoulder with a complete stranger without a sort of gas mask with it’s own supply I consider a risk. Have had trips ruined by catching a cold on the outward flight.
Your logic is under cut by the idea that unvaccinated will willingly put on a mask to protect those around.. my observation is the unvaccinated care even less about others health than they do their own.
Your post shows either a total lack of understanding of the science if you are vaccinated, or there is something mentally (anxiety? Fear of change?) keeping you from feeling comfortable about returning to normal
Buttigieg is part of a brainwashing system from this weak Government. Yes, give beer and gift cards for people to vaccinate but keep requiring masks on airports and planes. Totally ridiculous to see people wearing masks bought at Etsy like they block any virus.
Weak government? Do you live in a cave and a lack basic communications? The current Government has done more for the country in a few months than the last kleptocracy did for the country in four years except for stealing us blind and triggering an insurrection by trailer park trash. Wake up, dude, QAnon is a Russian scam propagated for fools like you to have some bone to gnaw on in your silly and completely unjustified victimhood.
@Lukas: you were brainwashed. Go find treatment. Just yesterday in California where a stupid liberal almost broke the state with a ridiculous lockdown. He opened the state just this week. I was at a restaurant last night and people were hugging and kissing each other, sharing desserts from the same plate, etc.. The place was booming. Covid is over, get back to your life.
The pandemic is slowing down and life is slowly getting back to normal. But to say that COVID-19 is over is just asinine and you know it.
@121Pilot. Given your profession one would think you would be accustomed to rules and regulations that may be based more on speculation and what we don’t know, rather than do know. An example being removing your shoes at TSA or liquid rules. Or even the mandatory retirement age of commercial pilots. None of these things are convenient, but to say that masks cause violence is absurd. One might think that cramped aircraft and seating along with minimal service, that coincides with the PTSD within our society over the past year, is far more contributing to the uptick.
I am not arguing one way or another towards the science of whether we need to still wear masks on planes. But clearly you are not a scientist. Nor am I. In the meantime I have to trust in the rules and, quite frankly, what’s the big deal? I don’t like liquid rules at TSA, but I am not getting violent as a result. This is less an inconvenience or argument of science than it is a political argument. Period.
I’m accustomed to rules based on real needs and real threats. Most of the examples you cite can actually be attached to demonstrated threats.
Now as to masks I grant that connection does not always equal causation. But sometimes it does. The American character prizes freedom and independence over conformity and compliance. So it’s not exactly shocking that many Americans are rebelling against what they see as unwarranted government overreach.
That’s why when I see what’s happening on airplanes I think the mask rules are playing a major part. I could be wrong of course but that’s my opinion.
It’s amazing to watch the moving goalposts of those who dispute the virus. First it was that the virus didn’t exist. Then, it was that masks don’t work. Next, it was that maks were going to NEVER end because government wanted to keep power over people. Now, its that we haven’t ended them ENOUGH, because there is 1 more place we still have to wear them…where we all breathe the same air for hours on end. All throughout this time these same people generally fought against getting vaccinated because they had the right to do whatever they want with their own bodies?! The inability to respect others is stunning. We have made it up a mountain, and only have the last 100 feet left to climb, but these people are angry they aren’t at the top.
Mask up bitches
It’s amazing how the mask zealots keep changing the goalposts. They will NEVER accept a maskless society.
Time the country as a whole ignores those who keep saying we need to wear masks if vaccinated. If they do not understand the science, they have no business commenting on the issue
Why can’t everyone just go get vaccinated?
Your question is clearly rhetorical, but I share your exasperation to the point where I feel like it merits a response.
The proximate cause is that a positive feedback loop has formed where television, radio and social media consumers have politicized the issue, based on encouragement from elected officials, polarizing much of the country along party lines. Their confirmation bias is only further cemented by whatever rationale du jour they’re able to trump up.
The root cause is a combination of:
– An unprecedented era of prevented diseases which have disappeared from our collective consciousness
– A decades-long erosion of responsible journalism standards due to corporate-owned media’s singular goal of attracting viewers for revenue
– The ease of publishing and accessing information with no accountability to its factual accuracy
– Our elected officials being beholden to their constituents’ political whims, even if it contradicts their best interests
– A knee-jerk distrust of public agencies due to all of the above
Nevertheless… if I were to pick ONE SINGLE LARGEST FACTOR as to WHY THE COUNTRY IS THE WAY IT IS… I’d say it’s “Rupert Murdoch”. The United States, United Kingdom and Australia would be a fundamentally different place today were it not for him.
I completely agree with your logic.
Masks SHOULD NOT be required for those who ARE vaccinated. Masks SHOULD be required for those who ARE NOT vaccinated.
If ONLY there were a way to have some sort of system where we could verify whether someone was vaccinated or not. You know… perhaps one that’s not overly burdensome as to purposefully restrict someone’s right to travel, but isn’t as completely ineffective as trusting anti-vaccination zealots to the honor system.
Based on your comments, you seem like a highly educated individual understanding both the epidemiological science behind COVID transmission AND the social science of human behavior. Surely there’s SOMETHING we could do.
Oh, and children. Children under 12 cannot get vaccinated in the US. “Anyone who wants a vaccine can get one” is patently FALSE when millions of children under 12 fly per year.
I’d even go farther, and this is where I break from many of my other fellow Republicans. No vaccination, no travel.
I fully support vaccinate passports
Excepting some things that are just fundamental American values, I am almost ALWAYS on board with common sense regulations intent on providing the maximum benefit at minimum cost.
Why are Americans permitted to be fat? Overweight/obesity imposes far greater costs on the country in aggregate than COVID-19 (aside from the economic fallout of the horrific own-goal of lockdowns). People should be free to act in ways that are viewed as stupid or risky by others so long as those behaviors don’t inflict costs on others. Overweight/obesity impose great costs on others. Do you support a not-fat passport? Should fat folx be allowed to set foot in McDonald’s? How about a non-smoker passport? A not-stupid passport? A vegan passport? Keep in mind that COVID-19 largely strikes down the old (can’t be helped) and the fat (can be helped).
If I am not infected with the virus, there is no way I can possibly infect someone else. Why should I be forced to undergo some experimental medical therapy or wear a mask? And in case someone wants to bring up seat belts, I don’t think the government should be mandating their use. The market can enforce their use by refusing insurance claims in which a passenger was injured while not wearing a seat belt. Private businesses should be allowed to ban the unvaccinated, but they should also be allowed to ban blacks. Mexicans, Nickelback fans, Ted Cruz, David Hogg or anyone else. Of course, current federal law protects blacks and Mexicans. What about Nickelback fans and Ted Cruz? David Hogg deserves no protection.
2B shots globally. It’s great. Man up and get the science-driven vaccine and stop being a whiny little fat complaining b!tch.
What, no more touting of the phantom new vaccine you were so proud of a month ago? lol.
I don’t begrudge authoritarians and followers who want to get vaccinated. I object to the idea that folx should be forced to get vaccinated. It’s funny how UA-TDS thinks he is more of a man because he “follows the science.” I wonder how much he actually understands of science. Everyone else is doing it, man! So scientific. Of course, he can’t resist insulting those who don’t follow his own blinkered worldview. But I don’t want to jump on boxes!
Unfortunately haven’t seen any news regarding a Phase II trial for the Codagenix vaccine. I don’t see why I need to rush to get an experimental vaccine, a cruddily produced one like Johnson & Johnson’s or any vaccine at all. I’m not fat or old. I don’t have any pre-existing conditions that would put me at risk for a serious case of COVID-19. I don’t hang out with likely carriers of SARS-CoV-2 in unventilated spaces for long periods. Other family members, including the older ones, have been vaccinated, so I’m not going to kill grandma. U mad, bro? You wishin’ death to me and mine (no one in my family voted for Trump, as much as UA-TDS likes to claim I did) as so many “follow the science” folx like to do?
You’re just another dollar store anti-vaxxer who pretends to be some erudite intellectual, but is really just another MAGA sycophant.
Enjoy Daytona and/or Galveston this summer!
I have never been to either place. In the past month I have been in five countries. How about you? Followin’ the science at home? The science says the safest thing is never to go outside. I think Trump was largely an incompetent buffoon, but he wasn’t wrong about a lot of things. How about those vaccines you love so much?
The difference between people like you and people like me is that if everyone else is doing it, you can’t wait to do it, too, while I prefer to consider my options. I think you should be free to get vaccinated and yet you can’t stand the idea that I might not. Keep following, follower. Chug that haterade.
Your argument to logical absurdity is a straw man.
1. Let’s assume we’re talking about situations where weight is a result of poor health choices. Obesity is indeed a burden on the healthcare system and ultimately one on the financial system. However, YOUR poor practices here do not adversely affect SOMEONE ELSE’S health.
2. Smoking is already outright banned in many public or private venues, precisely due to its impact on those who are not the smoker, as a matter of public health.
3. Being old indeed CANNOT be helped. A young person reducing their potential adverse impact on the old CAN be.
4. New does not equal experimental. These drugs have been used in hundreds of millions of users following every normal regulatory step and established drug development practice in the international community. Those who were so eager to tout the survivability of COVID would do well to remember that a single digit mortality rate is still orders of magnitude higher than the risk of life threatening adverse reactions from one of the vaccines authorized for emergency use. An American service employee is MORE LIKLEY to be physically harmed by someone indignant about enforced mask rules than they are of dying from the vaccine.
5. The right to travel is well established in the United States. Regulatory measures cannot unduly burden someone as to deliberately or inadvertently prevent a certain segment of the population from doing so. Nevertheless, a vaccine passport limited to commercial air travel DOES NOT do that, especially if coupled with the allowance of masks in lieu of it and medical exemptions for those who cannot do either. An outright ban of fat people from McDonalds DOES discriminate, however.
6. No one’s forcing you to get vaccinated. We’re also trying not to force someone else to sit next to someone who isn’t. Much like access to public school, commercial aviation is a privilege. Students ARE forced into vaccination for public school. Go complain about the injustice there.
The problem is that folx like you have no problem with state coercion to enforce your preferred norms.
1. If you deny that obesity is the primary co-morbidity of COVID-19, what do you think is? Racism? In most countries the COVID-19 case fatality rate is higher for men than women. Is it misandrist? Also, obesity is socially contagious, didn’t you know? Resources devoted to treating obesity and its related disorders could be used to treat other maladies if not for fatness, so it directly affects non-fat folx, never mind the financial burden.
2. If smoking is considered so unhealthy, why is it permitted by the state at all? It is happy to collect taxes from tobacco sales. You make the point that it is already banned from many spaces. Why not ban obesity? I think it is already established that obesity negatively affects the non-obese. Fat folx harm themselves and others.
3. Younger people could have been allowed to carry on with a relatively normal life while older folx were shielded. Of course, this doesn’t seem to have been considered as a possible solution by authorities. Younger folx could have developed immunity over the course of the pandemic, thus making later transmission to older folx less likely. This would have mitigated negative economic and health effects from the virus. According to progressive “thinking,” however, if one group can’t have things, no one can! Democratic governors decided to send the virus into nursing homes rather than shielding older folx from the virus. Do you think I didn’t notice that you elide the fact that the number one co-morbidity can be mitigated by individual behavior? Or is black obesity purely a product of white supremacy and impossible to get rid of without dismantling systemic racism? What can white folx blame their obesity on, then?
4. New indeed doesn’t have to mean experimental. However, there have never been any other mRNA vaccines approved for human use. Until recently mRNA therapies failed because they were too toxic. The vaccines have been given emergency use authorization. Typical vaccine development and approval takes many years (this is not to say that I agree with the FDA’s approval process). Are you old enough to remember when the media were mocking Trump’s claim that a vaccine would be available before the end of 2020 and now-Vice President Harris of the Harris-Biden administration with Joe Biden as President was inciting vaccine hesitancy? Could it have been possible that the then-President of the United States was advised of the state of vaccine development and knew about things in the pipeline that a Vox reporter might not have?
5. Vaccination is not necessary to prevent infection on an airplane. It is one of the safest places to be. The vast majority of super-spreading events are private gatherings in inadequately ventilated spaces. Are you going to ban such gatherings indefinitely or permit them only for vaccinated folx? Vaccine passports don’t really solve the problem of protecting the public and they will likely have a disparate impact on BIPOC folx. The ultimate fear is that such a system would be a prelude to a CCP-style social credit system. But that is a feature, not a bug, for progressives, isn’t it? Shun those deplorables!
6. If the vaccines work as well as you think they do, then why should you fear sitting next to someone who isn’t vaccinated on a plane? See above regarding discrimination and the Chinese social credit system. If you want to be able to discriminate according to immunization status, I think others should be allowed to discriminate freely on other bases. Why not let individuals decide how they will associate with each other rather than having the state mandate it? If I own a business, shouldn’t I be able to decide whether fat folx would be welcome in my establishment? BLM already seems quite happy to divide folx by race.
How do we manage to make it work unmasked in crowded sports arenas – even indoors – for vaccinated people, but not for domestic flights with constant HEPA filtering
This is FA union looking for an extra ‘safety’ enforcement measure to have as leverage for pay negotiations.
Ironically if they polled their own rank and file they’d find a surprising number of vaccinated FAs who would love for the vaccinated to be able to fly without masks now
Glad we don’t have this spirit of non-compliance in Australia.
A nation of followers. Be proud. Why did you ever leave the British Empire? Don’t ever leave Australia. Will you ever be allowed to?
Asycophant clai I got othersare followers. Lol
In English, please?
The Senator from Mississippi states: “…what is being foisted on us now in the name of science is hogwash.” Spoken like the enlightened, educated, well-informed place Mississippi is known for being. With any luck, the fine citizens of the South who continue to deny COVID’s horrible effects and costs will be spared the next wave; but heaven help them if they are not… we shall be watching death across the region like what we saw in India earlier in the Spring. The again, who really cares?