Aug. 19 (UPI) — The Transportation Security Administration has extended a federal requirement that all passengers must wear masks on flights in the United States for an extra four months to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
The TSA announced Tuesday that the requirement will last until at least Jan. 18. It had been set to expire on Sept. 14.
The mandate applies to all commercial travelers on all U.S. airlines and has been in effect since early this year.
Extension of the directive was driven by the surge in cases nationwide that have largely resulted from the Delta coronavirus variant, which is more contagious and more resistant to vaccines, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, applauded the TSA’s move.
“Air travel is one of the most controlled air spaces with layers of safety protocols that make it possible to serve our communities,” she said in a statement.
“We have a responsibility in aviation to keep everyone safe and do our part to end the pandemic rather than aid the continuation of it.”
The Federal Aviation Administration has said there have been nearly 3,000 incidents of passengers violating the federal mask mandate.