The CDC Is Asking Travelers to Keep Wearing Masks Despite the Mandate Lift

Cases have been on a steady incline, with the CDC reporting as many as 60,000 cases Tuesday.

Jacob Lund/Shutterstock
Jacob Lund/Shutterstock
Editor's Note: We know COVID-19 is continuing to impact your travel plans. Should you travel now, be sure to familiarize yourself with the CDC's latest guidance on domestic and international travel as well as local requirements, protocols, and restrictions for both your destination upon your arrival and your home city upon your return. Be safe out there.

In April, the Transportation Security Administration dropped its federal mask mandate, which previously required travelers to wear face coverings in the airport, on planes, and on other public transportation.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), however, disagrees with that decision. In fact, the agency is working with the Department of Justice to appeal the original Florida ruling that overturned the mandate in the first place, Travel + Leisure reports. But until it's official, the CDC is asking travelers to mask up nonetheless.

On Tuesday, the agency said we should be wearing masks in "crowded or poorly ventilated locations," including airports, airplanes, and airport jetways, based on "currently available data." 

"The CDC continues to recommend that all people—passengers and workers, alike—properly wear a well-fitting mask or respirator in indoor public transportation conveyances and transportation hubs to provide protection for themselves and other travelers in these high volume, mixed population settings," CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky said in a statement. "We now have a range of tools we need to protect ourselves from the impact of COVID-19, including access to high-quality masks and respirators for all who need them."

 And while we're not experiencing an omicron-caliber surge, numbers have been steadily climbing in the last few weeks, with the CDC counting 60,000 as of Tuesday. 

"Additionally, it is important for all of us to protect not only ourselves, but also to be considerate of others at increased risk for severe COVID-19 and those who are not yet able to be vaccinated. Wearing a mask in indoor public transportation settings will provide protection for the individual and the community," Walensky added. 

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Megan Schaltegger is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist.