CDC Issues Sweeping New Mask Mandate For U.S. Travelers, Extends Eviction Moratorium

Starting early next week, travelers and commuters will be required to wear face masks on nearly all forms of public transportation as part of a sweeping new order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus.

The order, issued late Friday, will require masks to be worn by “all passengers on public conveyances” traveling into or within the United States, including airplanes, ships, ferries, trains, subways, buses, taxis and ride-shares. Coverings will also be required at transportation hubs like airports, bus terminals, and train or subway stations. The new guidelines take effect at 11:59 p.m. ET on Feb. 1.

“Requiring masks on our transportation systems will protect Americans and provide confidence that we can once again travel safely even during this pandemic,” said the 11-page ordersigned by Dr. Martin Cetron, director of the CDC’s Division of Global Migration and Quarantine. “Therefore, requiring masks will help us control this pandemic and aid in reopening America’s economy.”

The new order arrives at a pivotal moment in the pandemic. One year to the day since the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a global health emergency, the U.S. has seen
nearly 26 million cases and more than 436,000 deaths. And while two vaccines have already begun rolling out,
troubling new variants from South Africa and the United Kingdom are raising growing alarm about whether health officials can prevent the virus from spiraling even further out of control.

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