The mandate extends to all US transportation networks. 

*Originally published on May 4, 2021:

The TSA recently announced that their nationwide mask mandate, which was originally set to expire on May 11, has now been extended through September 13.

In a press release, they stated: "The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is extending the face mask requirement for individuals across all transportation networks throughout the United States, including at airports, on board commercial aircraft, on over-the-road buses, and on commuter bus and rail systems through September 13." 

However, they clarified, "All other aspects of the requirement remain unchanged, including exemptions and civil penalties. Exemptions to the face mask requirement for travelers under the age of 2 years old and those with certain disabilities will continue. The existing civil penalty fine structure will also remain in place which starts at $250 and rises to $1,500 for repeat offenders who violate this face mask requirement."

Individual airlines have also imposed their own restrictions on passengers flying without masks, with 9 News reporting, "Thousands of people have been banned from airlines for not complying with the mask order. The Hill reports that Delta Air Lines has banned more than 1,200 passengers for non compliance." 

While the CDC has approved travel within the United States for "people who are fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine or a vaccine authorized for emergency use by the World Health Organization," they still recommend traveling with a mask, avoiding crowds and social distancing, washing your hands frequently, and self-monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms.

Darby LaJoye, the Senior Official Performing the Duties of the TSA Administrator, said, "The federal mask requirement throughout the transportation system seeks to minimize the spread of COVID-19 on public transportation. Right now, about half of all adults have at least one vaccination shot and masks remain an important tool in defeating this pandemic." 

Are you planning to travel once vaccinated? What are your thoughts on the mask mandate extension? Let us know in the comments.