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CDC orders mandatory masks on airlines, trains and public transportation

Bandanas no longer acceptable. Order takes effect Monday.

Updated: January 30, 2021 - 8:25am

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is mandating for the first time that passengers must use masks on airlines, trains, taxis and other public transportation.

Failure to wear a mask will be considered a federal offense, giving transportation companies extra leverage to enforce mask mandates they’ve already had for months.

RThe sweeping CDC mandate was issued late Friday and takes effect Monday night, covering not only public transportation but also bus terminals, airports, train stations, subway stops and ride-share cars.

"Scientific evidence shows that consistent and universal use of masks on public transportation systems and in transportation hubs will protect Americans and help to reduce the spread of COVID-19," the health agency said.

"People must wear masks that cover both the mouth and nose when awaiting, boarding, traveling on, or disembarking public conveyances. People must also wear masks when entering or on the premises of a transportation hub in the United States," the order added.

The CDC said bandanas, or face shields worn without an underlying mask, do not comply with the order. 

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