Story at a glance

  • The CDC formally enforced mandatory face coverings on transportation, beginning Monday evening.
  • It reinforces Biden’s policy to encourage widespread mask usage.

Late last week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a new mask mandate that doubles down on President Biden’s Jan. 21 executive order requiring all people traveling within the United States on planes and trains to wear facial coverings amid the ongoing fight against COVID-19.

Wearing masks has been proven to help reduce the transmission of COVID-19 by containing respiratory droplets that are emitted when people speak or breathe. 

Passengers, conveyance operators and conductors all must obey the mandate. It applies to trains, buses, metros/subways, airplanes, ships, taxis, ride-shares and other modes of transportation.

The rule will go into effect on Monday evening.


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It aims to “protect Americans and provide confidence that we can once again travel safely even during this pandemic,” according to Marty Cetron, the director of the CDC’s division of migration and quarantine, per MarketWatch.

One of Biden’s most prominent policies since taking office has been to enforce mandatory mask-wearing across the country. 

Along with the Jan. 21 executive order instating masks on transportation, another order signed on Jan. 28 outlined one of the priorities of the federal government’s COVID-19 response “to incentivize, support, and encourage widespread mask-wearing consistent with CDC guidelines and applicable law.”

This coordination between the Biden administration and the CDC is a stark contrast to how the previous administration under President Trump communicated with the public health agency. It comes as the U.S. recorded more than 111,000 new COVID-19 cases as of Jan. 31 and more transmissible forms of the virus are emerging in several states.


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Published on Feb 01, 2021