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If you’re traveling, you have to wear a mask now. The government says so

President Joe Biden signed a new executive order that mandates interstate travelers to wear masks

Travelers wear face masks while checking in at the ticket counter of Frontier Airlines in the main terminal of Denver International Airport late Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020, in Denver. Harvard University researchers said rapid testing at airports could reduce spread of COVID.
Travelers wear face masks while checking in at the ticket counter of Frontier Airlines in the main terminal of Denver International Airport late Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020, in Denver.
Associated Press

President Joe Biden has issued a new executive order that will require interstate travelers to wear face masks on certain domestic methods of transportation.

The executive order explains that masks will now need to be worn on the following transportation methods and locations:

  • Airports
  • Commercial aircrafts
  • Trains
  • Public maritime vessels, like ferries
  • Intercity bus services
  • All forms of public transportation

The executive order explains that the U.S. government will work with state, local and territorial officials to help implement the mandate.

There will be exceptions, too, according to the executive order.

  • “The heads of agencies may make categorical or case-by-case exceptions to policies developed under this section, consistent with applicable law, to the extent that doing so is necessary or required by law. If the heads of agencies do make exceptions, they shall require alternative and appropriate safeguards, and shall document all exceptions in writing.”

Context

The new executive order comes after nearly a year of airlines setting their own rules about face masks on flights. Airlines seem to welcome the change. As CNN explains, flight attendants have had to enforce the rule, which has led to some aggressive moments on airline flights.

  • Airlines have banned passengers for breaking the face mask rule, too. Delta has banned 880 passengers because of noncompliance to the face mask rule.

What this will mean for you

The executive order makes it pretty clear — face masks are now mandated at airports, on airlines and on any other public transportation method. It’s unclear how the mask mandate will be enforced, though.