Masks aren't going away anytime soon, at least not on public transportation in the United States.
The Transportation Security Administration has extended its mask mandate through September 13. The rule, which was put into place on Pres. Joe Biden's first day in office, had been set to expire May 11.
Passengers in the U.S. must continue to mask up at airports, onboard commercial aircraft, on buses, on ferries, and on rail systems.
"The federal mask requirement throughout the transportation system seeks to minimize the spread of COVID-19 on public transportation,” said senior TSA official Darby LaJoye in a statement. "Right now, about half of all adults have at least one vaccination shot and masks remain an important tool in defeating this pandemic. We will continue to work closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to evaluate the need for these directives and recognize the significant level of compliance thus far."
Looking ahead, masks could be even more important than before for stopping the spread of the coronavirus, since more Americans are traveling again—and sitting closer to one another.
None of the airlines are still blocking middle seats; Delta, the last holdout, ended the practice on May 1. With the recent industrywide uptick in travel, planes are filling up.
Amtrak, for its part, will stop blocking middle seats on trains starting May 23.
So pack your masks, folks. You won't be flying or riding the rails or taking a bus without them.