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Face Mask Mandate Expected to Extend Through March 2022

Flyers should expect to pack their face coverings for another three months, as the White House is expected to extend the national mask mandate.
The era of wearing face masks on airplanes, trains and busses isn’t over yet.


Reuters reports the White House is planning to extend the national public transportation face covering mandate for another three months, through March 2022.


Concerns Over Omicron Variant Cause for Extension

Debates over requiring flyers to wear face coverings on flights raged throughout the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. In October 2020, the U.S. Department of Transportation denied a petition by several transportation unions to make face coverings a legal requirement for flying, stating airline policies were enough. Only after a change in administration were coverings legally required to board a common carrier.


With the rollout of vaccines, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control eased face covering rules, saying that those who have taken the shot could “resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic.” However, that thinking was not applied to common carriers. In August 2021, the Biden administration extended the common carrier face covering requirement through January 2022.


Now that the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has arrived in the United States, Washington insiders tell Reuters the face mask requirement for aircraft will be extended once again. Under the new plan, flyers will be required to wear coverings through March 2022 – over one year since the original mandate began.


The continued face mask requirements compliment a set of travel restrictions implemented by the White House as a coordinated response to stop the spread of the Omicron variant. In addition to encouraging all Americans to get vaccinated, or take a booster shot if necessary, U.S. president Joe Biden announced restrictions on travel from several African nations, where the variant was first discovered. The move – mirrored by several other nations – met criticism from several organizations, including the World Health Organization and the U.S. Travel Association.


Lawmakers Continue Push for Vaccine Mandate for Air Travel

While the face mask era continues, Democratic lawmakers are continuing to push for a vaccine requirement for air travel, similar to one introduced by the Canadian government. In a letter to the White House, legislators from both chambers pushed the COVID-19 response team to require all flyers to provide proof of vaccination to board an aircraft.

Orange County Commuter December 14, 2021

Thank goodness 

We have too many idiots who are afraid of needles abd eagar to get to use  a ventilator

SEAfarer December 9, 2021

While sympathetic to the goals of public health professionals, the politicians have picked the wrong hills to die on.  Mandates are societally counter-productive as the virus burns through its playground of human behavior.  People do make their own choices, including driving home after two drinks.
I've stayed home for 21 months, going out for shopping and the occasional beer at favorite brewpubs, 30 minutes masked at most. 
I won't sit on international flights for 18 hours, get multiple jabs up my nose, or risk getting stranded outside the USA.  The vax was painless, a few unmasked exposures gave me a slight sore throat and some dizziness.  I'll stay home till it's all over.
Good luck and good health to all, including those I sort of disagree with... ;)  Keep making your points, and we will figure this out.
Oh yeah, I'm in my 70s...

Spanish December 8, 2021

Enough with the mandates.  If you wanted vaccinated, you've been vaxxed by now.  I feel perfectly safe with my 2x vax + booster.  Some people feel okay without it.  2 close unvaxxed friends have died of COVID - so very sad, but also we must accept that people make their own decisions and must accept the consequences of their actions.

Time to end the nonsense, make sure the non-wealthy countries have vaccinations available to those who want it, and get on with it.

Everyone's got choices to make and consequences to face.  The pandemic's lasted a while, and vaccines are available.

Time to get rid of the mandates and allow people to get on with it...

F16wannabe December 4, 2021

I took 5 flights this week.  I can see that the people are fed up and will likely not tolerate this mask nonsense much longer.  There were way more masks below the face than masks over the face.  4 out of 5 flights the flight attendants could have cared less.  Only 1 of the flights had a mask Nazi flight attendant.  It was funny watching her try to keep all 100 people who could care less fully masked all of the time.  

health1au December 3, 2021

It's not just until March. Masks are forever. I am very glad that the virus is repelled by food and drinks on the plane and cannot affect anyone dining in an airport restaurant.