TSA extending travel mask mandate for two weeks

The Biden administration will extend the federal mask mandate for all transportation networks through May 3, 15 days after it had been set to expire amid a new coronavirus surge fueled by the BA.2 variant.


The Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) mask mandate for travel on airplanes, in airports, on buses and on rail systems was set to expire on April 18.


The two-week extension is from an order by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), based off the rise in cases from BA.2 since early April.


“In order to assess the potential impact the rise of cases has on severe disease, including hospitalizations and deaths, and health care system capacity, the CDC

order will remain in place at this time. At CDC’s recommendation, TSA will extend the security directive and emergency amendment for 15 days, through May 3, 2022,” a

CDC spokesperson told The Hill.


This extension of the TSA mask mandate is the shortest yet. The mandate has been in place for 14 months and initially went into effect with an expiration date of May 2021.


TSA extended it a few times, most recently in March by one month. Before that, it had been extended in December before it was set to expire just after the new year.


After the two weeks, the CDC will determine what’s next for the mask mandate, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Wednesday, leaving the door open to more extensions.


She also said she wouldn’t make a prediction on if the public should expect more of these short-term extensions.