The face mask requirement for airports has been extended through January 18, 2022 © Kittiphan Teerawattanakul / EyeEm via Getty Images
The face mask requirement for airports has been extended through January 18, 2022 © Kittiphan Teerawattanakul / EyeEm via Getty Images

Passengers in the US now required to wear masks at airports through January 2022

TripFalcon August 18, 2021

Last Update: 2021-08-19 11:53:26

The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has confirmed it is extending its face mask requirement for airports, planes, buses and trains through January 18, 2022.

The order originally took effect in February to help curb the spread of COVID-19. The current order was set to expire on September 13 but has now been extended as officials consider the risks posed by the Delta variant. In a statement, the TSA confirmed to Lonely Planet the extended order will will last through January 18, 2022. The extension will apply to all travelers over the age of two, although there are exemptions for those with certain disabilities.

There are acrylic barriers in place at TSA checkpoints © George Frey / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Where do I need to wear a mask?

The order requires that all passengers on airplanes, ships, trains, subways, buses, taxis and ride-shares wear face masks. They're also required in transport hubs such as airports, train and subway stations, bus and ferry terminals, and seaports.

Why has the mask mandate been extended?

"The purpose of TSA’s mask directive is to minimize the spread of COVID-19 on public transportation," a TSA spokesperson told Lonely Planet. The extension of the order is also in line with the most recent public transport guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The Delta variant is rapidly spreading across the US, particularly among the unvaccinated population. Multiple cities have reinstated indoor mask mandates to stop the spread, and some, including New York City and San Francisco, are now requiring that people present proof of vaccination before entering indoor venues.

    "Extending the federal mask mandate for travel makes sense for the current health environment and has the travel industry’s full support," U.S. Travel Association executive vice president of public affairs and policy, Tori Emerson Barnes, said in a statement.

    President of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, Sara Nelson, also backed the news, saying masks are "the most effective tool" to curb the spread of COVID-19. "While vaccination has been key to the increased air travel demand, the lagging vaccination rates and rise of the Delta variant has caused cases to skyrocket again – threatening lives, continued virus mutation, and recovery from this pandemic," she said.

    "We have a responsibility in aviation to keep everyone safe and do our part to end the pandemic, rather than aid the continuation of it."

    Travelers should be aware that there are financial penalties in place for those who violate the face mask requirement. For further information about the security directives, please visit the TSA's website.

    Source: lonelyplanet