The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is developing guidance to ease nationwide mandatory mask-wearing on planes, buses and other forms of public transportation next month, a U.S. official said, but the existing face covering requirement will be extended through April 18.
The requirement, enforced by the Transportation Security Administration, was due to expire on March 18 but has been extended by a month to give the public health agency time to develop new, more targeted policies. The requirement applies to aircraft, buses, trains and transit hubs.
The CDC is developing a “revised policy framework” for when masks must be used in transportation systems, based on recently released “COVID-19 community levels,” according to an official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the announcement ahead of time. metrics.
As of March 3, more than 90% of the U.S. population lives in areas with low to moderate COVID-19 prevalence, where wearing masks in public is no longer recommended indoors.
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“We need to look not only at the science of transmission through masks, but also at the epidemiology and frequency with which we may encounter a variant of concern or variant of interest in our travel corridors,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle. Walensky. March 2, explaining why the agency delayed lifting the transit requirement but allowed people to gather without masks in movie theaters and sports arenas.
The news of the policy extension and revision was first reported by Reuters.