WASHINGTON, D.C. – Looks like we’ll have to keep wearing our face masks for a little while longer. The CDC extended the federal face mask for two more weeks on transit systems.
Whether you’re traveling by plane, bus or train, all passengers will have to keep wearing their face mask. The federal face mask was extended until May 3rd. After about two years of having to wear masks on public transit, that mandate was set to end Monday April 18.
In a press release, the CDC said they’re monitoring the new BA.2 COVID subvariant which now makes up for more than 85 percent of cases in the U.S. and since early April, there’s been an increase in the seven day moving average of cases in the U.S.
“So what they’re trying to do is give a little bit more time to assess its potential impact, the rise of the case have on severe disease, including hospitalizations and deaths and the healthcare system capacity and their assessment from a medical standpoint, a data gathering standpoint is that two weeks would give them some additional time to do that,” said Jen Psaki, the White House spokesperson. “Now at the end of that two weeks, they can determine what’s next after that, but, that is that assessment they made so that they could gather more data of the rise of the subvariant.”
We caught up with passengers waiting for their train at Washington D.C.’s Union Station.
“I think it’s a good idea,” said Phil Tortora, a passenger. “There’s been reports of upticks in cases, particularly here in the northeast and mid Atlantic so anything to keep people safe or prevent the spread of the disease is fine by me.”
Most that we spoke with are in favor of the extension.
“I think it’s a good idea right now especially with the rise of cases we’re seeing and with everyone coming from different directions it’s a good idea to keep it for a little bit longer,” said passenger Alexa Kratz.
While others, who didn’t want to go on camera, are eager for the mandate on transit systems to end. They said they’re frustrated they have to continue masks on planes, trains and buses, where most other places allow you to not wear a mask.
“We’ve been wearing them for two years so it’s not much of a deviation from the norm from the last two years so I’m fine with it,” said Tortora.
The White House said once the two-week extension is over, the CDC will decide if another extension should be implemented. So there’s a chance passengers will have to wear their masks even longer.