To ensure we are equipping our readers with all the information they need, we will continue to report on all travel, safety, and COVID-related news that could impact a Disney Parks visit.
The mask mandate within the U.S. for planes and other forms of public transportation was set to end soon, but now we have a big update.
COVID-19 rules and regulations have been changing all over the United States. At Disney World, we’ve seen mask rules adjusted for certain forms of transportation. We’ve also shared the news about increasing levels of COVID-19’s BA.2 Omicron subvariant in wastewater near Disney World. Now, when it comes to wearing masks on planes and trains, some extensions are set to be put in place. Here’s what we know.
According to the Associated Press, one of their sources who is familiar with this matter has indicated that the Biden administration will be extending the nationwide mask mandate for public transit for another 2 weeks, as it “monitors an uptick in COVID-19 cases.”
UPDATE: The TSA has now released a press statement confirming that the requirement that masks be worn on public transportation and transportation hubs will be extended for 15 days, through May 3rd, 2022.
BREAKING NEWS: TSA extends face mask requirement through May 3, 2022. TSA will extend the Security Directives and Emergency Amendment requiring mask use on public transportation and transportation hubs for 15 days through May 3, 2022. https://t.co/rY9W7Xkvcb pic.twitter.com/7cZ2stanEF
— TSA (@TSA) April 13, 2022
According to the TSA’s press release, the “CDC continues to monitor the spread of the Omicron COVID-19 variant, especially the BA.2 subvariant that now makes up more than 85% of U.S. cases.”
The press release goes on to say that “Since early April 2022, there have been increases in the 7-day moving average of COVID-19 cases in the United States. During the 15-day extension period, CDC will assess the potential impact the recent rise of COVID-19 cases has on severe disease, including hospitalizations, deaths, and healthcare system capacity. TSA will continue to coordinate closely with CDC and communicate any changes to this requirement with the public.”
AP had said that the CDC was set to extend the order by 2 weeks to “monitor for any observable increase in severe virus outcomes as cases rise in parts of the country.” AP’s source has indicated that the extension is set to take place in an “abundance of caution.”
Back in March of 2022, the CDC said that it would “work with government agencies to help inform a revised policy framework for when, and under what circumstances, masks should be required in the public transportation corridor. This revised framework will be based on the COVID-19 community levels, risk of new variants, national data, and the latest science.”
It appears that the plan for now is to extend the mask mandate for those 15 days.
AP notes that there has been a “slight increase” in COVID-19 cases during recent weeks, largely driven by the BA.2 Omicron subvariant, which is more contagious than Omicron’s previous form. Daily confirmed cases in the U.S. rose from about 25,000 per day to more than 30,000, but that could be an “undercount” since many individuals are using at-home tests that are not reported to public health agencies.
AP shares that “severe illness and deaths tend to lag infections by several weeks.” So, the CDC is waiting to see whether the increase in cases will in any way correlate to an increase in adverse outcomes, “before announcing a less restrictive mask policy for travel.”
According to Google, utilizing data from The New York Times, the 7-day average for COVID-19 cases in the U.S. was 33,101 on April 11th. Compared to the 7-day average from April 6th (which was 29,684) that is a bit of an increase.
We’ll be on the lookout for any official update from the CDC and TSA, and any further rules and regulations that may be put in place. Be sure to check back for more updates.