Bipartisan senators ask CDC, TSA when they will update mask guidance for travelers

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A bipartisan group of senators has asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) when they will update their mask guidance for travelers. 

In a letter, Sens. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) requested information about the agencies’ process for updating the mask guidelines for vaccinated people, adding that they want answers by July 12. 

“As there has not yet been any change in the requirement for masks while traveling, we request an update on the CDC’s and TSA’s process for updating the mask requirement for fully vaccinated individuals and what the science is showing about the transmission of COVID-19 for fully vaccinated individuals while traveling,” the senators said in their letter.   

The letter asked five questions, including whether removing mask mandates for fully vaccinated people would encourage others to get vaccinated and whether lifting mask mandates for fully vaccinated people would create administrative challenges. 

The senators noted they understand social distancing can be difficult on public transportation and public transportation hubs. 

“If the requirement for wearing masks while traveling can be safely lifted and would serve the public health interest, then we believe it would benefit the traveling public. We appreciate your prompt attention to this matter and hard work in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the letter said. 

“TSA will review the letter and respond directly to members of congress,” a TSA spokesperson told The Hill. 

The letter comes days after Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday shot down a bill from Republican Sens. Rick Scott (Fla.) and Mike Lee (Utah) that would have revoked the Biden administration’s mask requirement on public transportation. 

The Hill has reached out to the CDC for comment.

Updated Monday at 10:51 a.m.

Tags Amy Klobuchar Brian Schatz Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; CDC Jerry Moran mask requirements Mike Lee Roger Wicker Susan Collins Washignton D.C. Washington D.C.

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