CDC extends mask mandate on public transportation until May as COVID cases rise

The CDC said this extra time will be used to gather more information about the BA.2 variant of COVID-19.
Published: Apr. 13, 2022 at 10:24 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - Travelers will need to continue wearing masks for at least another few weeks.

The CDC has extended the federal transportation mask order Wednesday. The order, which was supposed to expire on April 18th, will now last through May 3rd.

The CDC said this extra time will be used to gather more information about the BA.2 variant of COVID-19.

Travelers we spoke with think this public health policy is a good one to keep in place.

The mandate requires masks on all public transportation, including planes, trains, and buses, as well as inside places like airports and bus terminals.

The agency said the decision was made after closely monitoring COVID-19 data in the U.S.

A spokesperson said in part, quote:

“The CDC mask order remains in effect while CDC assesses the potential impact of the rise of cases on severe disease, including hospitalizations and deaths, and healthcare system capacity.”

Here in the Bay State, the positivity rate has continued to creep upward since the start of the month. It was 2.57% on April 1st and rose to 3.48% this Wednesday.

We stopped by Union Station in Springfield to see how travelers feel about the extension.

Alexa Ribeiro of Belchertown travels back and forth to New York City for school. She said wearing a mask does not bother her.

“If anything, it makes me feel more safe,” Ribeiro said, “because I know that it’s not mandated to be vaccinated to travel everywhere, so just knowing at least I have protection wearing a mask myself, but also other people wearing a mask.”

It was a sentiment echoed by other travelers we spoke with.

“I feel better if I’m wearing it, actually,” said Orlando Zayas of Westfield, “especially when you hear the news about this new strain of the virus going around being so contagious, and the thing is I have my vaccines, but you don’t know how it’s going to hit you.”

Zayas told us he often flies and has a trip planned to the Caribbean in a couple weeks. He said that even if the CDC were to lift the mandate, he would feel more comfortable keeping it on.

“I don’t think, because they suspend the mandate, the virus is going to say, ‘okay, I’m not going to infect anybody else because the mandate has been suspended,’” said Zayas. “I go by what I see.”

The CDC said it will continue to monitor COVID-19 levels to provide the most up to date guidance.