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The CDC Amends Masks Policy, but only Outdoors

Wearing a face mask inside an airport and other public transit areas is still federally mandated.  In January 2021, an executive order made wearing a mask in all areas of public transportation areas a federal law.  The end date was originally May 11, 2021, but that has been extended through September 13, 2021.  The announcement applies to all public transit areas, including airports, buses, subways, ferries, trains, and terminals.

The Transportation Security Agency (TSA) is enforcing the mandate and working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to monitor the national and international health situation and the possibility of revising the September date.

As COVID-19 restrictions in most states have largely been lifted and millions of people have been vaccinated, the CDC announced that it is relaxing the COVID-19 face masks requirement for vaccinated travelers who are outdoors.  Vaccinated passengers can forego wearing a face mask, but only while outdoors at transportation hubs across the country.  The revised mandate and the CDC states that unvaccinated individuals should continue to wear masks while outdoors in these areas. 

The CDC advises that masks for vaccinated and unvaccinated people should continue to be worn in indoor spaces while waiting for transportation and on the vehicles.  This guidance does not apply to children under that age of 2 or those with disabilities who are unable to wear a mask.  The TSA can fine travelers $250 for first-time offenses up to $1,500 for repeat violations.