The CDC declared late Friday that people are required to wear a protective face mask while using any form of public transportation, like buses, trains, taxis, airplanes, boats, subways, and carpool vehicles, when traveling from or to the US. This new order will come into effect on Monday, February 1st at 11:59 p.m.
The order states that masks must be worn at all times, while waiting, boarding, traveling, and disembarking. The face masks should be protective, meaning there should be two or more layers of breathable fabric secured onto the head with ties, ear loops or elastic bands. CDC announces that scarves and bandanas do not count. According to CNN, the only time when people can remove their masks briefly is when they “eat, drink or take medication; verify their identity to law enforcement or transportation officials; communicate with hearing impaired people; don an oxygen mask on an aircraft; or during a medical emergency.”
If this new order is violated, the CDC stated that it reserves the right to enforce the order through criminal penalties. However, it “strongly encourages and anticipates widespread voluntary compliance” and expects any other federal agencies to help enforce the order.
President Joe Biden also signed an executive order last week requiring travelers to wear a protective face mask. He also challenged the Americans to wear one for the first 100 days of his term. Earlier in the month, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) declared a stricter consequence for dealing with unruly travelers. “Passengers who assault, threaten, intimidate or interfere with airline crew members can face fines of as much as $35,000 and even imprisonment, according to the FAA. In December, the FAA proposed fines of $15,000 and $7,500 for two passengers ‘for allegedly interfering with and assaulting flight attendants who instructed them to wear face coverings.’” President Biden then later announced that all travelers will be required to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test before entering the US. President Biden also called for a requirement for travelers to follow the CDC guidelines like self-quarantine or self-isolation concerning international travel.