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US air travel mask mandate extended


US air travel mask mandate extended

Air travel mask mandate | Photo: John Minchillo/AP

The US federal mandate requiring travelers to wear masks while flying was set to expire today. However, the White House has extended the mask requirement until April 18, 2022.

The move to extend was made public on March 10 and marks the third time that the mandate has been extended. Opposition has already materialized, mainly from Republican officials, airline companies, and passengers. On Tuesday March 15, the Senate passed an act that would overturn the mandate by a vote of 57 – 40.

Extending the mask mandate for travelers is curious given that the CDC’s recently reported that 93 percent of the US population do not need to wear a mask. Airline companies have also pushed against the mandate, which has been the source of an increasing number of incidents involving passengers that refuse to mask.

Despite opposition, expect the mask mandate to remain in place until April 18th given the House of Representatives’ Democratic majority and general consensus on COVID policies. However, this will likely be the last extension. With the midterms looming, these types of mandates provide ammunition for Republican candidates to attack the Biden administration and Democrats as being out of touch with reality.

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