U.S. Government Extends Travel Mask Mandate Until April 18

The United States Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced on March 10 that the federal public transportation mask mandate will be extended for another 30 days.

Citing recommendation from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), TSA extended the mask mandate to April 18.

“During that time, CDC will work with government agencies to help inform a revised policy framework for when, and under what circumstances, masks should be required in the public transportation corridor,” TSA said.

“This revised framework will be based on the COVID-19 community levels, risk of new variants, national data, and the latest science. We will communicate any updates publicly if and/or when they change,” TSA further said.

A source told CNN that the CDC may lift the mandate before April 18 if cases and transmission rates across the U.S. drop to low enough levels.

The extension comes as many state and local mask mandates have been lifted or are set to be dropped.

In a statement to Insider, the Transport Workers Union (TWU) said that they support “any federal guidance based on science and the recommendations of the CDC,” but noted the unruly behavior of passengers caused by the mandate.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, there were 4,000 mask-related disruptive passenger reports in 2021.

“Unruly passengers were an issue that our members dealt with before the pandemic, but we have seen this behavior dramatically increase over the past two years since mask mandates were enacted,” TWU International Executive Vice President Alex Garcia said.

“Regardless of how the TSA moves forward after April, any violence against flight crew should not be tolerated, and measures should be put in place to better protect them,” Garcia also said.

The mandate, which was first implemented in January 2021, applies to planes, trains, buses, and airports.

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