White House announced new actions against the Delta and Omicron variants that include stronger public health protocols for international travel and extending the requirement for people to wear face masks in airports, on airplanes, trains, and buses, and in transit stations for 60 additional days.
Face Mask Mandate:
The administration will continue to require masking during international or other public travel – as well as in transportation hubs such as airports or indoor bus terminals – through March 18, 2022. The current mask mandate is set to expire on January 18, 2022.
TSA will be updating Security Directive (SD) 1542-21-01 Security Measures – Mask Requirements to reflect this new date. No other changes to the SD are expected. Based on conversations with TSA, we do not expect the updated SD to be issued until closer to the current expiration date. Additionally, AAAE does not anticipate that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will alter its face mask order for public transportation conveyances and in transportation hubs because that order contains no end date.
The White House also announced that fines will continue to be doubled from their initial levels for noncompliance with the masking requirements – with a minimum fine of $500 and fines of up to $3,000 for repeat offenders.
Pre-Departure Testing Protocols:
As AAAE previously reported, early next week the United States will tighten its pre-departure testing protocols by requiring all inbound international travelers, regardless of their vaccination status or nationality, to receive a negative COVID-19 test result within one day of departure.
More details about the face mask extension and pre-departure testing protocols will be released as soon as they become available.