Must Be Worn Correctly. Violators Face Federal Action. CDC Directive Includes All Public Transportation.
BY: STAFF REPORT
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BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — If you are flying, taking a train, riding in Uber, Lyft or a taxi starting Tuesday, you are required under a federal directive to wear a face covering over your mouth and nose.
The Centers for Disease Control made the mandate official on Saturday. It takes effect on Tuesday. There is no longer discretion or opportunity for local leaders — like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis — to suggest that it’s optional.
The CDC says the following do NOT fulfill the requirements of the order:
- Masks worn in a way that does not cover both the mouth and nose
- Face shields or goggles (face shields or goggles may be worn to supplement a mask that meets above required attributes)
- Scarves, ski masks, balaclavas, or bandannas
- Shirt or sweater collars (e.g., turtleneck collars) pulled up over the mouth and nose.
- Masks made from loosely woven fabric or that are knitted, i.e., fabrics that let light pass through
- Masks made from materials that are hard to breathe through (such as vinyl, plastic or leather)
- Masks containing slits, exhalation valves, or punctures
- Masks that do not fit properly (large gaps, too loose or too tight)
Here is the official language released by the CDC:
[OFFICIAL TEXT STARTS HERE}: As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to surge in the United States, CDC is implementing provisions of President Biden’s Executive Order on Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel and will require the wearing of masks by all travelers into, within, or out of the United States, e.g., on airplanes, ships, ferries, trains, subways, buses, taxis, and ride-shares. The mask requirement also applies to travelers in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and seaports; train, bus, and subway stations; and any other areas that provide transportation. Transportation operators must require all persons onboard to wear masks when boarding, disembarking, and for the duration of travel. Operators of transportation hubs must require all persons to wear a mask when entering or on the premises of a transportation hub.
This action is to further prevent spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 and to further support state and local health authorities, transportation partners, and conveyance operators to keep passengers, employees, and communities safe.
Today’s order from CDC is part of a comprehensive, science-driven, U.S. government response to the COVID-19 pandemic. One component of the whole-of-government response is taking actions related to reducing virus spread through travel. Transmission of the virus through travel has led to—and continues to lead to—interstate and international spread of the virus.
“America’s transportation systems are essential,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH. “Given how interconnected most transportation systems are across our nation and the world, when infected persons travel on public conveyances without wearing a mask and with others who are not wearing masks, the risk of interstate and international transmission can grow quickly.”
Traveling on public transportation increases a person’s risk of getting and spreading COVID-19 by bringing people in close contact with others, often for prolonged periods, and exposing them to frequently touched surfaces. Face masks help prevent people who have COVID-19, including those who are pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic, from spreading the virus to others. Masks also help protect the wearer by reducing the chance they will breathe in respiratory droplets carrying the virus.
“CDC recommends that non-essential travel be avoided; however, for those who must travel, additional measures are being put in place to help prevent the spread of the virus,” said Dr. Walensky. “Masks are most likely to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when they are widely and consistently used by all people in public settings.” [OFFICIAL TEXT ENDS HERE]
While airlines have largely required use of face coverings in their boarding areas, local law enforcement has been lax in mandating mask use at Palm Beach International and Fort Lauderdale International airports. Deputies — and possibly undercover agents — are now expected to be warning travelers that compliance is no longer optional.
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