Masks still mandatory on US public transportation says USDOT

The USDOT has reminded US travellers that it is still mandatory to wear a mask on public transportation, despite the CDC updating their mask guidance for fully vaccinated people last week.

Mask-wearing bus rider protected against COVID

The US Department of Transport (USDOT) has continued to urge travellers in the US to wear a mask, despite the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) relaxing some of the rules around face coverings for fully vaccinated individuals in recent days.

According to the new CDC guidance published at the end of last week, “fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.”

“If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said during a White House Covid-19 briefing. “We have all longed for this moment when we can get back to some sense of normalcy,” she added, reiterating the guidance change around fully vaccinated individuals.

In the same briefing, Walensky reminded unvaccinated people that “you remain at risk of mild or severe illness, of death, or spreading the disease to others. You should still mask and you should get vaccinated right away.”

The debate on whether to wear a mask or not has raged from the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, when face coverings almost took on a political significance in the run up to the 2020 Presidential election.

Yet the current guidance from the USDOT could not be clearer: you must continue to wear a mask on public transport, whether you have been fully vaccinated or not.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and the US Department of Transportation remind the travelling public that at this time if you travel, you are still required to wear a mask on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States, and in US transportation hubs such as airports and stations,” the Department said in a statement.

It appears it will be some time at least before citizens of New York, Los Angeles, and other US cities can board buses and trains mask-free.