Masks still required during air travel as CDC loosens indoor mask guidelines for fully vaccinated people

May 13, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

As Diana Ross sang, “Drop the Mask.” But not if you’re planning to travel.

On Monday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that fully vaccinated people — those who had their final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at least two weeks prior — can safely go maskless in most indoor and outdoor settings.

More: What to know about COVID-19 vaccines in the US

The CDC’s new guidance notes that while local, state, or federal entities can still mandate masks in a variety of settings, vaccinated people can remove their masks, where allowed, without a significant risk of spreading the SARS-CoV-2 virus or contracting COVID-19. Social distancing can also end for vaccinated people, the CDC said.

“We have all longed for this moment, when we can get back to some sense of normalcy,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky. “Based on the continuing downward trajectory of cases, the scientific data on the performance of our vaccines, and our understanding of how the virus spreads, that moment has come for those who are fully vaccinated.”

(Screenshot courtesy of CDC)

“Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities, large or small, without wearing a mask or physical distancing,” she added.

Notably, however, masks will continue to be required on public forms of transportation, including on planes and in airports, as well as on buses and trains. That requirement was recently extended through at least September 13.

However, Walensky hinted that the requirement could be waived sooner.

“Right now for travel, we are asking people to continue to wear their masks,” Dr. Walensky said. “We are going to be looking at all of our guidance and updating all of our guidance, including our travel guidance.”

The CDC emphasized that the new guidance only applies for those who are vaccinated. Anyone who has not completed the full vaccination course — two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna shots, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson jab — and waited for two weeks should continue to wear masks.

Want more airline-specific news? Sign up for TPG’s free new biweekly Aviation newsletter!

Earlier this week, the CDC said that it would slightly relax mask requirements aboard cruise ships, allowing fully vaccinated travelers to sit maskless in lounge chairs and around pools outdoors.

In recent weeks, the FAA has fined numerous passengers for disruptive incidents on board airplanes, including refusing to wear masks and ignoring fight attendants’ instructions.

Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-SWA, praised the continuance of mask mandates aboard aircraft.

“Rules for aviation safety are harmonized around the world, and we must have credibility in the safety of flight if the U.S. aviation industry is to regain access to the rest of the world and fully recover,” Nelson said in a statement to TPG. “We will continue to work with FAA, TSA, CDC, and other government agencies to end this pandemic.”

She added: “So get vaxxed, wear a mask, and come fly with us!”

In addition to various public jurisdictions, private businesses are allowed to continue to require masks, the CDC said. At press time, there was no word of relaxed requirements at any hotel or resort chains in the U.S.

Featured photo by Daniel Slim/AFP via Getty Images

 

 

 

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.