CDC to revise mask requirements concerning outdoor areas of transportation systems

June 11, 2021
While the requirement to wear a mask inside hubs and on conveyances will remain, the requirement for outdoor areas will be relaxed.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) plans to revise its face mask requirements for people and employees using transportation conveyances and transportation hubs.

The revised order will not require masks while outdoors on conveyances or outdoors on the premises of transportation hubs. While the order applies to all people regardless of vaccination status, CDC recommends non-vaccinated people continue to use masks as a risk mitigation measure.

“Conveyance operators must continue to require all people onboard to wear masks when boarding and disembarking, and for the duration of travel, unless they are located in outdoor areas of the conveyance (if such outdoor areas exist on the conveyance). Operators of transportation hubs must require all persons to wear a mask when entering or while located in the indoor premises of a transportation hub,” the CDC said.

The planned revision will not affect existing exemptions or exclusions and is subject to how federal partners and state and local entities define “outdoors.” CDC states it understands “outdoor” to refer to any open-air area.

CDC issued an order in January 2021 that required the wearing of masks by people on public transportation conveyances or on the premises of transportation hubs. In support of the CDC guidance, Transportation Security Administration extended its own order requiring the use of face masks through Sept. 13, 2021.

CDC says it will amend its January order as soon as practicable to align with its guidance for fully vaccinated people. Until CDC can amend the order, it “will exercise its enforcement discretion regarding certain aspects of the order to not require that people wear masks in these settings.”

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.