Mask requirement for public transit and passenger rail extended to March 2022

Dec. 3, 2021
The Biden Administration included an extension to the mask mandate for certain transportation modes as part of its plan to combat COVID-19 over the winter.

The Biden Administration has announced it will extend the requirement that face masks to be worn on airplanes, passenger trains and public transportation through March 18, 2022.

The extension of the mask requirement on transportation is part of the administration’s plans to combat two variants of COVID-19, Delta and the newly discovered Omicron. The Delta variant became the dominate variant in the U.S. this summer and Omicron has emerged with the label from the World Health Organization as a “variant of concern.”

This is the third extension of the mask requirement for certain modes of transportation. The rule first went into effect on Feb. 1, 2021, and was set to expire on May 11 before being extended to September 2021, then January 2022 and now March 18, 2022.

In a statement outlining the administration’s plans to fight the pandemic this winter, the White House said fines would continue to be double for those found to be in noncompliance with the masking requirements. The minimum fine is $500 and can raise up to $3,000 for repeat offenders.

Following the administration's announcement the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) issued a statement that said "TSA in conjunction with the CDC, will extend the face mask requirement for individuals across all transportation networks throughout the United States, including at airports, onboard commercial aircraft, on over-the-road buses, and on commuter bus and rail systems through March 18, 2022."

TSA had not yet updated the dates of its current security directive for those transportation modes impacted by the extended mask rule; this story will be updated when the directive is published.

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.