The rapid rise of the Delta variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 may force the Biden administration to extend the mask mandate for anyone using public transportation through January 2022.
Three sources told Reuters that the Biden administration will extend requirements for travelers to wear masks on airplanes, buses, and trains and at airports and train stations through mid-January.
The sources said major airline carriers were told about mask mandate extension on a call with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this afternoon. The current TSA transportation mask order expires on Sept. 13.
An extension of the mask mandate would mean travelers would be wearing masks for almost two years or about 21 months since March 2020. That is an astonishing amount of time since the government initially told the general population that COVID would be over if everyone wore their masks and got their vaccine.
Meanwhile, the flight attendants union at Southwest Airlines penned a letter to CEO Gary Kelly that overworked employees are "weary, exhausted, frustrated and forgotten," according to Bloomberg.
Southwest staff has been overworked during COVID - some employees have worked 18-hour shifts and have complained about unruly passengers who don't want to wear masks. The union requested more time off for employees and self-defense training for flight attendants.
'Just another five months to beat the virus'?
That rings a bell!
What are the chances of the administration continuing to extend the order as they blame new virus variants?