COVID-19 · Travel

Biden admin. extends airplane mask mandate through Jan. 2022

Planning to hop a flight this year? You’ll still be wearing a mask, the Transportation Security Administration announced Tuesday.

The U.S. travel agency confirmed it will extend the mask mandate to mid-January of next year.

“TSA will extend the directives through January 18, 2022. The purpose of TSA’s mask directive is to minimize the spread of COVID-19 on public transportation,” the agency said in an update to press. 

The rule covers travel in airports, on commercial airplanes, buses, and rail systems.

The initial rule was set to expire on May 11 but was ultimately extended in April by the Biden administration to Sept. 13.

Under the travel rule, the TSA has the authority to fine passengers who refuse to wear a mask, beginning at $250 and climbing as high as $1,500 for repeat offenders.

The extension follows a summer surge of travel, with air travel demand outstripping pre-pandemic levels nationwide.

However, with back-to-school season and a nationwide surge in the Delta variant of coronavirus, travel has leveled off leading to a decline in the ticket price of air travel among the major carriers.

Reid Stone is a contributing reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun.