Previously a federal judge overturned the federal mask mandate for transportation, thereby allowing travelers to make their own choices. The DOJ has appealed that decision after the CDC said it wanted the mask mandate to remain in place. The status of that litigation is unknown.
Today, the CDC has announced a semi-permanent extension of the federal transportation mask mandate with no expiration date noted. [Announcement Here] That means all travelers on airplanes, trains, busses and ridesharing will be required to wear facemasks again, including inside the terminals and operational hubs of those transportation nodes, pending the outcome of the DOJ appeal to the federal court.
CDC Announcement – “At this time, CDC recommends that everyone aged 2 and older – including passengers and workers – properly wear a well-fitting mask or respirator over the nose and mouth in indoor areas of public transportation (such as airplanes, trains, etc.) and transportation hubs (such as airports, stations, etc.).
[…] This public health recommendation is based on the currently available data, including an understanding of domestic and global epidemiology, circulating variants and their impact on disease severity and vaccine effectiveness, current trends in COVID-19 Community Levels within the United States, and projections of COVID-19 trends in the coming months.
[…] “CDC continues to recommend that all people—passengers and workers, alike—properly wear a well-fitting mask or respirator in indoor public transportation conveyances and transportation hubs to provide protection for themselves and other travelers in these high volume, mixed population settings. […] Additionally, it is important for all of us to protect not only ourselves, but also to be considerate of others at increased risk for severe COVID-19 and those who are not yet able to be vaccinated. Wearing a mask in indoor public transportation settings will provide protection for the individual and the community.” ~ Rochelle Walensky, CDC Director
If the Biden administration lose the court appeal to reinstitute the mask mandate, this announcement by the CDC would appear to be moot, they couldn’t enforce it. However, if the Biden administration is successful in their appeal, the mandatory mask wearing returns.
Put another way….. If the Biden administration lose the appeal, the people wearing masks will be the COVID worshippers. If the Biden administration win their appeal we all have to wear them.