The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a sweeping order late Friday requiring the use of face masks on nearly all forms of public transportation from Tuesday as the country continues to report thousands of daily COVID-19 deaths.
The order, which takes effect at 11:59 p.m. EST on Monday, requires face masks to be worn by all travelers on airplanes, ships, trains, subways, buses, taxis, and ride-shares and at transportation hubs like airports, bus or ferry terminals, train and subway stations and seaports.
The CDC said people violating the order could potentially face criminal penalties, but suggested civil penalties would be more likely if needed
President Joe Biden on Jan. 21 ordered government agencies to 'immediately take action' to require masks in airports and on commercial aircraft, trains and public maritime vessels, including ferries, intercity bus services and all public transportation.
Under Donald Trump, who was president until Jan. 20, a CDC push to mandate masks in transit was blocked and the agency instead only issued strong recommendations for mask use. Trump also rejected efforts by Congress to mandate mask use.
'Requiring masks on our transportation systems will protect Americans and provide confidence that we can once again travel safely even during this pandemic,' said the 11-page order signed by Marty Cetron, director for CDC's Division of Global Migration and Quarantine.