An executive order signed by President Biden mandates the use of masks for all travelers on public transportation
A public health order issued Jan. 29 requires masks to be worn by all travelers on public transportation and at transportation hubs. According to the Washington Post, the order is covered under the mandate President Biden signed on his first day of office.
Though the CDC had prepared a mask requirement for transportation last year, it was blocked by the White House. At that time masks were enforced for interstate travel while transportation services such as airlines relied on company mask mandates to ban customers who refused to wear masks.
Business Insider reported that U.S. airlines have banned more than 2,500 passengers since the spring for not complying with mask policies. The new health order put in place on Tuesday will help give airlines government action when enforcing mask mandates and safe travel.
The key objective of the health order is to help with preventing the spread of the virus. “Travel has led—and continues to lead to—interstate and international spread of the virus that causes COVID-19,” The CDC reported in the order. This comes as three new variants that first surfaced in the U.K., Brazil and South Africa have been detected throughout the U.S.
While the travel industry has been hit hard because of the pandemic, travel over the holidays picked up as TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein told the Washington Post, “What we’ve seen is the usual pre-pandemic type of travel patterns during the 2020 holidays.” According to the Miami Herald, there were 95,211 U.S. deaths from COVID-19 in January which is the most of any month since the start of the pandemic.
“Mask use will enable Americans to travel responsibly and as safely as possible when they need to travel during the pandemic,” the CDC added.