On Wednesday (April 13), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced its federal mask mandate on all forms of transportation would be extended for an additional 15 days.
Passengers on planes, in airports, trains, and buses will be required to mask up until May 3, the agency announced ahead of its original April 18 expiration date. The two-week extension comes from the CDC who said another Covid-19 variant, BA.2, has causes a spike in new cases since the beginning of April.
“In order to assess the potential impact the rise of cases has on severe disease, including hospitalizations and deaths, and on healthcare system capacity, the CDC Order will remain in place at this time,” a CDC spokesperson told The Hill in a statement. “At CDC’s recommendation, TSA will extend the security directive and emergency amendment for 15 days through May 3, 2022,” they added.
The mask mandate on transportation has been in place for the past 14 months and has since been extended several times amid spikes fueled by emerging variants. Now, researchers say BA.2 –– a subvariant of the highly transmissible Omicron variant –– is causing a spike in several states. Some cities, including Philadelphia reinstated its indoor mask mandate amid the rise in new cases.
Masking on planes has led to an unprecedented amount of incidents on planes, captured and posted online by frustrated travelers who’ve deplaned aircrafts and been delayed after one or a few passengers refused to mask up. Incidents against flight attendants have gone up since travel picked up amid the pandemic, data shows.