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The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced an extension of its CDC-backed requirement that passengers wear face masks aboard planes, trains, buses and all public forms of transportation.
The order was set to expire on May 11, but will instead continue through at least September 3, 2021. According to the Associated Press, TSA confirmed that children under the age of two and passengers with certain disabilities will continue to be exempt from the mask regulation.
Aviation industry groups, airlines and the flight attendants’ union have lately been the ones calling for an extension of the rule, arguing that the mask mandate has been a major factor in safeguarding the health of both passengers and airline workers amid the pandemic.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) also declared that it will uphold its strict enforcement directive and pursue legal action against those who violate the mask rule, as well as disruptive and otherwise non-compliant passengers, for as long as the federal mask mandate remains in effect.
In response to the TSA’s announcement, Tori Emerson Barnes, U.S. Travel Association Executive Vice President for Public Affairs and Policy, issued the following statement:
“Extending the federal mask mandate for travel is the right move and has the travel industry’s full support. The universal wearing of masks in the travel environment is both an effective safeguard against spreading the virus and boosts public confidence in traveling—both of which are paramount for generating a sustained reopening of the travel economy.”