The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is extending the mask mandate on public transportation for an additional 15 days. The current rule was set to expire on April 18 but will now be in effect until May 3.
The CDC cited an increase in cases in April in its decision to renew the mandate, which covers buses, planes, trains, and transportation hubs such as airports and bus terminals.
"Since early April, there have been increases in the 7-day moving average of cases in the U.S. In order to assess the potential impact the rise of cases has on severe disease, including hospitalizations and deaths, and health care system capacity, the CDC Order will remain in place at this time," the CDC said in a statement.
The decision comes despite a push by the airline industry to rescind the rule. Flight attendants and gate agents have been struggling to deal with unruly passengers who do not want to wear masks.
"The persistent and steady decline of hospitalization and death rates are the most compelling indicators that our country is well protected against severe disease from Covid-19," the CEOs of ten airlines wrote in a letter to President Joe Biden last month.
"Now is the time for the administration to sunset federal transportation travel restrictions – including the international predeparture testing requirement and the federal mask mandate – that are no longer aligned with the realities of the current epidemiological environment."