Airplane, public transportation COVID-19 mask mandates extended

The Transportation Security Administration announced Thursday that it is extending the mask mandate on public transportation.

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The current mask mandate is set to expire on March 18, NBC News reported.

It is now going to expire on April 18, The Associated Press reported. The extension allows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention more time to establish new guidelines to ease the mandate.

The TSA enforces the mask mandates on public transportation, the AP reported.

CNN was one of the first to report that federal officials have told members of the airline industry that they will announce a 30-day extension of the mandate with official word coming as soon as Thursday.

It was confirmed by the TSA shortly after.

Currently, passengers on any public transportation, including airplanes, trains, buses and transportation hubs like airports, must still wear masks, CNN reported.

Two industry officials, along with a government official told CNN that the extension could be lifted early if transmission rates of COVID-19 drop low enough nationwide. CNN did not say what the threshold would be, however.

Earlier this month the CDC changed the way it categorizes COVID-19 transmission, meaning that in areas that are considered low or medium COVID-19 Community Levels, the wearing of masks in public are no longer recommended in indoor settings, the AP reported.

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