In an interview with CBS News, U.S. Travel Association president Roger Dow called on the White House to not extend the federal face covering mandate on public transportation, citing the “economic costs” that are hurting the industry.
Dow Argues “Less Severe” COVID-19 Variants Allows for Dropped Face Mask Rules
For around two years, flying in the United States comes with wearing a face covering from the moment a passenger enters the terminal, to when they leave the airport at their final destination. After airlines enforced the rule for less than a year, the Biden administration made it a rule through an executive order, which has been since extended well past the original deadline.
The latest extension pushed the rule through Monday, April 18, 2022, at the direction of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). With less than a week to go before a decision is made on face coverings for flights, Dow says that less severe variants of COVID-19 should allow for travelers to decide for themselves whether or not to wear a mask.
“We have an unpredictable virus with many variants,” Dow told CBS News. “But we’re seeing again and again these variants are less severe.”
The call comes as infections are trending upward once again, while most Americans would accept an extension of the face mask mandate. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control, the 7-day moving average cases have trended upward since March 30, 2022. As of April 11, the agency reports a 7-day moving average of over 30,000 new cases per day.
In addition, Forbes notes The Harris Poll COVID-19 tracking survey shows 60% of Americans polled would accept another extension of the face covering rules for public transportation. The survey polled 2,000 adults and was demographically weighted.
Neither the White House, the CDC, nor the TSA have indicated if there will be another extension of the face covering rule for commercial flyers.
U.S. Travel Association Joins Growing List of Those Opposing Face Mask Rules
With Dow’s interview, the U.S. Travel Association is the latest group to publicly support an end to face coverings on flights. In March 2022, airline executives under Airlines for America, the Southwest Airlines flight attendant’s union and former Spirit Airlines chief executive Ben Baldanza all called on the government to drop mandatory masking for flyers.
Source: frugal travel guy