On Thursday, Americans got some major news when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the winding down of facemask mandates.
The CDC announced, “if you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you can resume activities without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance."
It is still recommending those who aren’t vaccinated, and those who are but develop symptoms, continue to take precautions including masking up and getting tested, but those who are vaccinated can now live without facemasks as long as local businesses or state rules allow them to.
The announcement was welcomed news for millions of Americans who have been vaccinated (more than 267 million doses have been given in the U.S. so far) and are anxious to shed their masks and return to normal. However, it doesn’t yet mark the return to normal during travel.
The Transportation Security Administration, shortly after the CDC’s announcement, confirmed that the TSA’s facemask requirement is still in place everywhere within the nation’s transportation network, including in airports, on flights, on trains, and more.
“The CDC recently announced that fully vaccinated travelers with an FDA-authorized vaccine can travel safely within the U.S., but the CDC guidelines still require individuals to wear a face mask, socially distance, and wash their hands or use hand sanitizer,” the TSA’s guidance reads.
While things can change, the CDC is still for the moment mandating facemasks during travel through at least Sept. 13, 2021. Those who fail to comply with the mandate can still be denied boarding, removed from their flights, or fined by the TSA.
That requirement has been in place since February, and according to the FAA, airlines have already filed more than 1,300 reports of unruly passengers, a major increase from previous years.
One man who was flying Southwest, according to the NY Times, was charged $16,500 for his refusal to wear a mask and mistreatment of flight attendants. Others have been charged $9,000 or more for their behavior.