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Biden Extends Mask Order At US Ports And Ferries

John Konrad
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August 18, 2021

The Biden administration confirmed late on Tuesday it plans to extend requirements for travelers to wear masks aboard ferries, at ports, and all other public transportation modes.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will extend provisions of President Biden’s Executive Order on Promoting COVID-19 Safety by requiring travelers to wear face masks when they are aboard a ferry, in airports, bus, and rail stations, as well as while on passenger aircraft, public transportation, passenger railroads, and over-the-road buses operating on scheduled fixed-routes. TSA will also support the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Emergency Order mask mandate on conveyances, at ports, and transportation hubs. 

A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) spokesperson confirmed the extension, first reported by Reuters. “The purpose of TSA’s mask directive is to minimize the spread of COVID-19 on public transportation,” the spokesperson said.

The current TSA transportation mask order runs through Sept 13. Officials told Reuters it will be weeks or even months before the administration considers lifting the current travel restrictions.

In some U.S. states, transportation hubs are among the only places where masks are still required and the TSArecently told Congress that since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic there have been over 85 physical assaults on TSA officers. The CDC reversed course on July 27 and said fully vaccinated Americans should go back to wearing masks in all indoor public places in regions where the Delta variant of the coronavirus is spreading rapidly.

The CDC on Tuesday cited the Delta variant’s transmissibility in a recent statement. “Wearing a well-fitting mask that covers your nose and mouth is a way to prevent germs from spreading between yourself and other people,” it said.

The Biden administration, citing the highly transmissible Delta variant and rising daily COVID-19 cases, has refused to lift any international travel restrictions that bar most non-U.S. citizens from the United States.

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