US extends mandatory mask-wearing by another 2 weeks
The ordinance requiring the wearing of masks on public transport, including planes and trains, as well as at airports, was initially introduced in January 2021 and was in effect until April 18. It has now been extended until May 3 as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continue to assess “the potential impact of rising cases on serious illness, including hospitalizations and deaths, and the health care system's ability to combat COVID-19.” /p>
The last time the mask was extended, the Transportation Security Administration said it was done on the recommendation of the CDC. A number of airline and tour executives have already called on the Biden administration to lift pandemic-era restrictions, including mask requirements, as well as pre-arrival testing for international travelers.
After a peak in January, the United States saw a significant decline in new cases, but in recent weeks it has been replaced by an increase. Currently, the vast majority of cases in the US — over 85% — associated with the new version of Omicron, also known as BA.2.
Thus, masks remain mandatory at airports, planes, trains, buses and other modes of transport, despite the fact that many cities and states across the country have waived their own mask-wearing rules, including Nevada and California.
Philadelphia, however, has gone the other way, restoring mandatory indoor face masks from next week amid rising cases. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” — wrote the mayor of Philadelphia in his decision. “By introducing masks early, the Department of Health hopes to keep the number of cases from skyrocketing, as we saw in December and January with the omicron option.”