The CDC Wants to Reinstate the Indoor Transportation Mask Mandate

Transportation Security Administration initially overturned its federal mask mandate on April 18.

Girts Ragelis/Shutterstock
Girts Ragelis/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.

Earlier this week, the Transportation Security Administration officially overturned its federal mask mandate on public transportation before Uber and Lyft quickly followed suit. But now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is asking the Department of Justice to appeal the ruling, Travel + Leisure reports.

The mask mandate was initially set to expire on May 3. However, a Florida judge struck down the federal ruling early—spurring Amtrak and major US airlines to nix their own mask policies. But the CDC is warning that "at this time, an order requiring masking in the indoor transportation corridor remains necessary for public safety," according to The Associated Press.

In response to the ruling, President Biden said that mask-wearing on public transportation was up to passengers, while White House press secretary Jen Psaki told The New York Times that "public health decisions shouldn't be made by the courts, they should be made by public health experts."

And while technically, masks are not enforced onboard flights nationwide anymore, that doesn't necessarily apply to the airports. All New York City area airports, for example, still require masking. You'll need a face covering to fly out of JFK or LaGuardia, though Newark is excluded from that list.

The bottom line—whether the government ultimately reinstates the mask mandate or not—is that the CDC continues to advise using face coverings on all indoor transportation.

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