The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a sweeping public health order late Friday requiring that all individuals wear masks nationwide when traveling via planes, trains, subways, ferries, ride shares, and other any other types of public transportation.
The order, which will go into effect Monday at 11:59 p.m. eastern time, is an extension of the mask mandate President Biden signed on Jan. 21 which requires the wearing of masks on all federal property and by all federal employees.
The order applies to all public commercial transportation vessels as well as transportation hubs, such as air terminals, train stations, subway stations, seaports, and bus depots. All passengers, as well as employees or vessel operators, must wear masks when boarding, disembarking, and for the duration of the travel. The order asks transportation staff to use “best efforts” to ensure passengers comply, and to disembark anyone who refuses. If briefly eating or drinking, travelers do not have to wear masks, the CDC said.
The order does not apply to children 2 or younger, commercial trucks with a single driver, and military transportation. The CDC said it would rely on “widespread voluntary compliance,” and failure to do so constitutes a violation of federal law, the order said.
The order was issued in response to the continuing rise of COVID cases across the country.