The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials told NBC News that the organization’s mask mandate for travel on Airlines, Trains, and Buses is not going to change, after all. The government demand for face masking was set to expire in one week but will be extended for the third time, after two years of making demands on travelers.
Following what they determined were surges in COVID-19 cases, the Transportation Security Administration twice extended the face mask requirement for airports, planes, buses and rail systems and now they are doing it again.
As COVID case numbers have dwindled and other COVID metrics have improved in recent months, the TSA was set to lift the requirement on March 18, but then changed their minds and extended the fear porn even further into the future, least people stop purchasing PPE, COVID tests or stop getting their COVID shots.
And the TSA doesn’t want to give Americans back their personal freedom of choice- after having such a good time using people around- in the friendly skies- for the past two years.
The masking requirement has remained in place, by the TSA, even after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced a shift in COVID-19 guidance late last month, saying most Americans are safe without a mask in indoor settings.
But that wasn’t a good enough reason to return to normal according to the TSA.
The Transportation Security Administration’s face mask requirement for airports, planes, buses and rail systems is set to be extended once again, continuing the requirement through much of the spring break rush, officials told NBC News Thursday.
A White House official and a TSA official said in a statement the agency will extend the masking guidelines for one month, with the expiration now set for 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,” the administration official said in a statement. “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.”
Following two extensions of its mandate, the TSA mask mandate had been scheduled to expire on March 18.
The agency put out a release Wednesday ahead of busy spring break travel, stating “the mask requirement remains in place and TSA will continue to assess the duration of the requirement in consultation with CDC.”
“TSA’s collaboration with industry and federal partners has been instrumental throughout this pandemic, and now we are seeing a light at the end of the tunnel as demonstrated by the rapid recovery of the travel industry,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said in a statement. “We are prepared and ready for a busy spring, and are doing our part to ensure the traveling public is safe and secure by continuing to deploy new technologies within the checkpoint that enhance security, reduce physical contact and improve the traveling experience. We just ask travelers to do their part by being respectful to each other and those who work in the transportation sector – from our officers to airport workers and flight crew.”
The requirement has remained in place even after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced a shift in COVID-19 guidance late last month, saying most Americans are safe without a mask in indoor settings.
It was a dramatic shift from the previous guidance, which recommended masks in counties with substantial or high transmission, a category that covered the vast majority of the country. According to a metrics update Thursday, more than 90% of Americans live in areas of low or medium COVID-19 transmission, meaning masks aren’t recommended.
The CDC currently advises masks only in areas listed as having high transmission.
Despite the change in guidance, the TSA opted not to lift the federal requirement.
“The mask requirement remains in place and we will continue to assess the duration of the requirement in consultation with CDC,” a TSA official said late last month as the CDC change was announced.