TSA could let airplane mask mandate expire over spring break

ORLANDO, Fla. — The rule requiring airplane passengers to mask up could be allowed to expire during the middle of Florida’s spring break week, though one organization is already pushing for an extension.

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The pandemic-era rule was enacted in the early days of the Biden administration in 2021, though air travelers have generally worn masks since airlines resumed most of their flights. It also applies to bus and train passengers.

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Currently, the rule expires on March 18. Earlier this week the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA called on the Transportation Security Administration to extend the mask mandate before the order expires.

“We have every expectation that the mask mandate will be extended for the near term,” a union spokesperson told Bloomberg, adding that babies and toddlers should be able to be vaccinated before passengers begin flying maskless.

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While some passengers support continuing the rule, many travelers Channel 9 spoke to at Orlando International Airport on Wednesday said it was time to leave it in the past.

“I think it makes sense to get rid of it. And just go back to the normal,” Boston native Aziz Ikbal said. “I’m sure it’s going to be a new normal, but it’s better than having a mask on all day long.”

READ: Coronavirus: CDC considering updates to masking guidance

Federal agencies usually defer to CDC guidelines when crafting their rules. While the health agency recently adjusted rules for cruise ship passengers, leaders have said they do not intend to relax mask guidelines until hospitalizations decrease.

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