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National Face Mask Mandate Extended Through January 2022

Flyers at airport wearing face masks

Flyers can expect to keep their face coverings on the ready through at least January 2022. Multiple agencies in the Biden administration have confirmed they will extend the national face mask requirement for airports and other forms of public transportation through at least Jan. 18 of the next year.

If you are planning on boarding a plane in through the end of 2021, be sure to have a face covering ready. Reuters reports agencies in the Biden administration will extend the national face mask mandate for airports, airlines and other forms of public transportation through January 18, 2022.

Face Mask Mandate Extended as COVID-19 Delta Variant Runs Rampant

In February 2021, the Centers for Disease Control issued the national face mask mandate for all travelers utilizing a form of publicly-available transportation – including air travel, trains and buses. While the order was intended to be temporary, the decision to extend it was based on the interest of public health.

According to current data from the CDC, the COVID-19 Delta Variant is resulting in high community transition across the U.S. While 72 percent of Americans have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, both cases and deaths are on the rise, with the U.S. death toll alone reaching over 600,000.

Airlines were informed of the decision via a call with the CDC and the Transportation Security Administration. Labor unions are supporting the decision as a vital way to keep both flyers and front-line aviation workers safer from contracting the virus.

The extension comes as both airlines and the aviation industry struggle with how to approach COVID-19 vaccination. United Airlines was the first to require employees to get the shot and was quickly followed by Frontier Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines. Days later, Transport Canada announced anyone who plans on boarding a flight departing from their borders must be vaccinated against COVID-19. In a statement to the media, Homeland Security secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said there was no discussion about making vaccines mandatory for boarding an aircraft in the U.S.

Despite Mandate, Mask-Based Incidents Continue to Rise

While face masks will continue to be required through the end of 2021, flyers are continuing to create trouble over them on their flights. The latest information from the Federal Aviation Administration shows the agency has received over 2,800 reports over face coverings aboard aircraft, making up the majority of the 3,889 issues referred for investigation.

Bootman4U September 4, 2021

So we flew several times within the past week on American/American Eagle and here is what we saw: in the waiting areas a few passengers not wearing their masks at all and a couple of American employees wearing them incorrectly. The latter included both gate agents and cockpit crew members. On board, FA's reminded several people on several segments to wear their masks properly and a couple repeatedly ignored the FA's I am sorry but preventing the spread of a potentially fatal disease by insisting on measures which have been proven to be effective when employed, is hardly "draconian." Expecting compliance by the public when the airline's own employees are out of that expected compliance is stupid.

SamirD August 25, 2021

The only way to stop the spread and prevent the deaths is to simply lock down until we have medical countermeasures that work. Then slowly loosen up and measure the results and repeat. If there's a problem, lock back down again. This is the only way to get out of this. To give some food for thought--approx 160,000 American lives were lost in the Korean and Vietnam wars COMBINED. These were wars that were hotly debated and had protests and all sorts of reactions in the in interest of PROTECTING American lives. And yet, 600k+ are dead and people whine about anything that will protect life. Sad time to be an American.

isisthecat47 August 25, 2021

We now know that vaccinations aren't enough. People can still be infectious even if asymptomatic. Masks must be required in addition to vaccinations.

jackw007 August 24, 2021

Covid is never going away. It's time to come to grips with that. Get vaccinated if you have no medical reason not to, and quit pretending that these "mitigation efforts" will eradicate the virus.

TheHorta August 23, 2021

Well… I guess I’ll continue to play my bit-part in this ongoing Theater of the Absurd. ;-)