Mask Mandate for U.S. Travelers Extended to Jan. 18 Over Variant


U.S. transportation and health agencies are extending the mask mandate for air passengers and other travelers until mid-January as the delta variant of Covid-19 continues to surge. 

The sometimes controversial requirement for people to cover their faces on public forms of transportation had been set to expire on Sept. 13. The Transportation Security Administration said Tuesday in an emailed statement it intends to extend that until Jan. 18. 

“The purpose of TSA’s mask directive is to minimize the spread of Covid-19 on public transportation,” the agency said. 

Infections of Covid-19 driven by the delta variant have grown to levels not seen since last winter, which has prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to call for greater mask usage and other measures to stem the surge. 

Mask Mandate for U.S. Travelers Extended to Jan. 18 Over Variant

The TSA had extended an earlier mask mandate last April. The agency’s order includes people at airports and on airliners, as well as those traveling on buses and rail systems. 

Masks have been a lightning rod for controversy in travel situations, driving a huge surge in unruly airline passenger incidents, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. 

Out of the 3,889 reports of misbehaving passengers this year, 2,867 or almost three out of four involved disputes over masks, the FAA said Tuesday. 

Reuters reported earlier that airlines were told by TSA that the agency planned to take the action. 

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