CDC Orders Face Masks to Be Worn on Public Transportation

CDC Orders Face Masks to Be Worn on Public Transportation

02.03.21
Photo: sturti/Getty Images
02.03.21

Anyone using any form of public transportation is now required to mask up following a federal mask requirement announced Friday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The order by the CDC was effective Monday at 11:59 p.m. and requires travelers to wear face masks on airplanes, ships, trains, subways, ferries, buses, taxis and other ride-share vehicles. Passengers must wear masks while boarding, disembarking and for the duration of travel. 

The order also notes that face shields, scarves and bandanas don’t count as proper face masks. A face mask must be “a solid piece of material without slits of exhalation valves, or punctures,” the CDC said. The mask must also be worn properly and completely over a passenger’s nose and mouth.

Children under 2 and people with disabilities who can’t safely wear masks are exempted from the order. Taking off the mask for brief periods to eat, drink or take medication will also be allowed.

While airlines and most public transport already require masks, the federal order will make it easier to enforce the rules. However, the CDC said it doesn’t “intend to rely primarily on these criminal penalties but instead strongly encourages and anticipates widespread voluntary compliance.”