Despite judge’s ruling, CDC recommends face coverings for travelers

Healthcare agency encourages use of masks in indoor areas of public transportation

Despite a recent ruling from a federal judge, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is taking a stand on the use of masks in indoor areas of public transportation and hubs.

The healthcare agency is recommending that anyone age 2 or older – including passengers and workers – properly wear a well-fitting mask or respirator over the nose and mouth in indoor areas of public transportation, such as airplanes, trains, etc.; and transportation hubs, such as airports, stations, etc.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending the use of masks in indoor areas of public transportation and hubs. On April 18, a federal judge in Florida struck down a national mask mandate on airplanes and mass transit.

“When people properly wear a well-fitting mask or respirator, they protect themselves and those around them, and help keep travel and public transportation safer for everyone,” the CDC said in a news release. “Wearing a well-fitting mask or respirator is most beneficial in crowded or poorly ventilated locations, such as airport jetways. We also encourage operators of public transportation and transportation hubs to support mask wearing by all people, including employees.”

Last month, a federal judge in Florida struck down a national mask mandate on airplanes and mass transit. Following that April 18 ruling, airlines and airports quickly started repealing their requirements that passengers wear face coverings.

  • On Tuesday, the CDC reported that its latest recommendation is based on:
  • Current available data, including an understanding of domestic and global epidemiology;
  • Circulating variants and their impact on disease severity and vaccine effectiveness;
  • Current trends in COVID-19 community levels within the United States; and
  • Projections of COVID-19 trends in the coming months.

Along with staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and avoiding crowds, wearing a well-fitting mask or respirator is one of multiple prevention steps that people can take to protect themselves and others in travel and transportation settings. For more information about safer travel during the pandemic, click HERE and HERE.

“We now have a range of tools we need to protect ourselves from the impact of COVID-19, including access to high-quality masks and respirators for all who need them,” said CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky. “Additionally, it is important for all of us to protect not only ourselves, but also to be considerate of others at increased risk for severe COVID-19 and those who are not yet able to be vaccinated. Wearing a mask in indoor public transportation settings will provide protection for the individual and the community.”

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