All travelers using public transportation will now be required to wear a face mask, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated in a new order issued late Friday aimed at containing Covid-19 case counts across the country.
Passengers will be required to follow the new rule while “boarding, disembarking, and for the duration of travel” on planes, buses, subways, trains, ferries and ride-share vehicles, the guidelines say.
The new order states masks must completely cover a traveler’s nose and mouth. Face shields, scarves and bandanas are not permissible forms of coverings, the CDC said.
Children who are under 2 years old and those who can’t wear a mask due to a disability are exempted from the order, which is is set to take effect on Monday at 11:59 p.m.
The CDC’s new rule goes further than an executive order signed by President Joe Biden last week that required face masks to be worn on federal properties and during interstate travel.
The CDC said that while it “reserves the right” to enforce the order through criminal penalties, it will be relying on an honors system practiced by passengers.
Airlines, which largely enforced self-imposed mask regulations before Biden’s order and the new CDC rule, previously called on the Federal Aviation Administration to issue a federal mask mandate, but the agency declined to, noting that it’s not a public health agency.
As of Saturday morning, the U.S. surpassed 25,000,000 cases and 436,000 deaths amid the coronavirus pandemic.
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