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The Biden administration will announce an extension for mask requirements for passengers on public transportation systems through mid-March, according to a report.
Federal officials are expected to make a formal announcement regarding an extension through March 18 on Thursday, Reuters reported, citing sources familiar with the matter. In addition, President Biden is expected to discuss the extension during an event detailing his administration’s broader effort to combat the COVID-19 pandemic this winter.
The current mask requirement was slated to expire on Jan. 18 following an extension last August. The Transportation Security Administration, which has issued guidance on previous extensions, and the White House declined Reuters’ requests for comment.
Public health officials have expressed concern about the omicron variant, the latest mutant strain of COVID-19. A California resident who was vaccinated against COVID-19 was confirmed as the first U.S. case of the omicron variant, which was first identified in South Africa.
The mask requirement applies to trains, planes, buses, cruise ships and other forms of transportation, as well as public transportation hubs. The TSA implemented its first security directive for the mask requirement in February 2021.
The Biden administration has barred entry for most travelers from eight South African countries in response to the omicron variant.
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The mask requirement has contributed to a spike in altercations on flight and other forms of public transportation. Last month, Attorney General Merrick Garland ordered the Justice Department to enhance its efforts to prosecute unruly passengers.
(this story/news/article has not been edited by PostX News staff and is published from a syndicated feed)