TSA: Keep those masks on planes and trains for one more month

March 11, 2022
TSA has extended the requirement to wear masks on public transit and at transportation hubs through April 18, 2022.

On Thursday, March 10, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) issued a brief, three sentence statement that extended the requirement to wear face masks on public transportation and in transportation hubs through April 18, 2022. The previous requirement was set to expire on March 18. This is the fourth extension since the rule first went into effect on Feb. 1, 2021.

In the next month, both TSA and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) explain CDC will work with government agencies “to help inform a revised policy framework for when, and under what circumstances, masks should be required in the public transportation corridor. This revised framework will be based on the COVID-19 community case levels, risk of new variants, national data and the latest science.”

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the reported new cases and seven-day moving average cases have dropped significantly since the height of the Omicron variant spread in January 2022. For comparison, on Jan. 13, 2022, CDC reported 899,603 new cases and a seven-day moving average of 806,550; March 9, 2022, the numbers reported were 49,710 new cases and a seven-day moving average of 37,149.

CDC has eased its guidance on mask use in some situations. As of Feb. 25, 2022, CDC does not require masks to be worn on public or private school buses or vans.

Elsewhere in North America, TransLink riders in Metro Vancouver, B.C., will not be required to wear face coverings on most services as of March 11. TransLink follows guidance of the British Columbia Provincial Health Officer and is working closely with Transport Canada and WorkSafeBC to ensure safety is preserved on all modes of transit.

Masks will remain mandatory on HandyDART as the Provincial Health Officer requires masks in medical settings and TransLink explains many of this service’s riders are traveling to or from medical appointments.

Riders on non-HandyDART TransLink services are welcome to continue wearing masks based on their own comfort level.

“TransLink is ready to welcome customers back to our world-class transit system as our economy reopens. TransLink will continue increased cleaning and improved sanitization on vehicles with thorough ventilation,” the agency said.

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.