Although usage is already widespread, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued formal guidance recommending the wearing of face masks while traveling to prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.
The CDC statement says that guidance should be followed by passengers on public conveyances that include airplanes, ships, ferries, trains, subways, buses, taxis, ride-shares as well as operators of those conveyances.
The CDC says that face masks help prevent people who have COVID-19, including those who are pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic, from spreading the virus to others. The CDC goes on to say that America’s transportation systems are essential.
“The CDC’s new guidance really says it all: ‘America’s transportation systems are essential…for America’s economy and other bedrocks of American life.’ There simply cannot be an economic and jobs recovery unless travel is able to broadly resume, and the universal embrace of mask-wearing and other hygiene measures is the thing that is going to enable that to happen,” says U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow.“That’s why the travel industry has been emphasizing the necessity of masks since the early days of the pandemic, and will keep repeating it as often as we need to until it’s fully automatic behavior among travelers. The CDC’s latest message is helpful and clear, and will be important for promoting a crucial understanding heading into the holiday season: safe travel is absolutely possible as long as everyone in the travel ecosystem employs best health practices.”
Appropriately worn masks reduce the spread of COVID-19—particularly given the evidence of pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19. Many countries, states, territories, tribes, and local authorities have implemented mask requirements within their jurisdictional boundaries, including on public conveyances and associated boarding terminals, to protect public health and reduce the spread of COVID-19 within and between communities. Transportation partners, including airlines, train and bus operators, and taxi and ride-share companies, have also issued mask requirements on their conveyances.
“Broad and routine utilization of masks on our transportation systems will protect Americans and provide confidence that we can once again travel more safely even during this pandemic. Therefore, CDC is providing this guidance to further support state and local health authorities, transportation partners, and conveyance operators who have implemented requirements for masks to support passenger and crew safety, maintain safe and operational transportation systems, mitigate further introduction and spread of COVID-19, and help safely re-open America’s economy.
CDC strongly recommends appropriate masks be worn by all passengers that cover both the mouse an nose and by all personnel operating the conveyance while on public conveyances (e.g., airplanes, ships, ferries, trains, subways, buses, taxis, ride-shares) and within locations where people board such conveyances (e.g. airports, bus or ferry terminals, train stations, seaports).