The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced it would extend the mandatory mask mandate on public transportation until at least April 18.
According to NBCNews.com, government officials from the White House and TSA said they are working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on a revised policy framework for when the mask mandates can be safely lifted.
The facial covering requirements were set to expire on March 18, but now have been extended for another month. The decision to extend the mandate come as every state has now lifted the protocols or announced plans to drop them in the near future.
“During that time, CDC will work with government agencies to help inform a revised policy framework for when, and under what circumstances, masks should be required in the public transportation corridor,” the agency said on its official website.
“This revised framework will be based on the COVID-19 community levels, risk of new variants, national data, and the latest science,” the CDC statement continued. “We will communicate any updates publicly if and/or when they change.”
Government officials said the possible changes to the mask guidance in the future would be more dependent on coronavirus-related hospitalizations and local hospital capacity instead of the overall number of confirmed COVID-19 cases.
TSA Administrator David Pekoske said the agency’s work with health officials and industry partners have helped keep travelers safe during the pandemic. “Now we are seeing a light at the end of the tunnel as demonstrated by the rapid recovery of the travel industry,” Pekoske continued.