Travelers 2 years old and up still must wear masks despite the availability of COVID-19 vaccines.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is urging the Biden administration to lift its long-standing requirement for people to wear masks on airplanes and other forms of mass transit ahead of the upcoming Fourth of July holiday weekend.
Airline travelers ages 2 and older currently have to wear face masks in order to fly, despite the widespread availability of COVID-19 vaccines and the CDC’s recent declaration that fully vaccinated people can travel safely.
“Biden’s CDC needs to ‘follow the science’ and end its mask mandate for vaccinated Americans on airplanes and public transportation,” Cruz tweeted Monday morning. This followed a similar post Sunday night in which he added that “Americans should be able to travel to celebrate Independence Day without having to follow an outdated and unnecessary mandate.”
The CDC’s interim public health recommendations from May 28 stated that fully vaccinated people no longer have to get tested before or after traveling or quarantine themselves following their travels. Nevertheless, they say travelers are still required to don masks while in transit.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) pointed to the CDC’s recommendations in announcing that they were extending a mask mandate for anyone in airports or traveling via commercial planes, commuter buses or trains until Sept. 13.
“Right now, about half of all adults have at least one vaccination shot and masks remain an important tool in defeating this pandemic,” Darby LaJoye, the senior official performing the duties of the TSA administrator, said in a statement. “We will continue to work closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to evaluate the need for these directives and recognize the significant level of compliance thus far.”
Cruz led a group of Republican senators on Friday when the introduced a resolution calling for the end of the mask mandate. The resolution, signed by Cruz and Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, Jerry Moran, R-Kan., Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., and Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., noted that the CDC has already updated other guidance that says fully vaccinated people do not have to wear masks in confined spaces.
The resolution further argues that lifting the mask mandate on airplanes “would be instrumental in helping the economic recovery of the United States” by boosting the travel and tourism industries, and “would incentivize a greater number of individuals to receive the COVID–19 vaccine.”
Fox News reached out to the CDC and TSA for comment, but they did not immediately respond.
“Over 150 million people in the United States are fully vaccinated and mask mandates have been lifted across the country. But the CDC inexplicably still hasn’t lifted the mask mandate for public transportation,” Cruz said in a Friday statement. “It’s long past time for President Biden and the CDC to follow the science and end this mask mandate for fully vaccinated individuals.”