As part of its face masks order back in January, the Centers for Disease Control said that face masks needed to be used when on public transportation like buses and trains, as well as at transportation hubs like subway stations and ferry terminals. Now that the agency has updated its guidelines regarding the use of face masks, the CDC has relaxed the rules regarding transportation, but only when it comes to outdoor transportation hubs.
The latest change to the CDC’s face masks order removes the rule about wearing face masks when in outdoor areas of conveyances and at outdoor transportation hubs. However, the CDC says that people who are not fully vaccinated against the SARS-CoV-2 virus should continue to wear face masks when in public, including in these spaces.
The face masks requirement isn’t going away when it comes to indoor transportation regions, including the transportation vessels like airplanes and trains. This is because, the CDC explains, these spots “present a unique set of circumstances” due to how many people are often gathered together in a small space for a prolonged period of time.
There are some situations in which the CDC says people don’t need to wear masks in these indoor spaces, including for brief periods of time when taking meds, drinking, or eating. As well, the mask can be removed for other brief occasions like proving one’s identity during TSA screenings.
Likewise, masks can be removed during emergency situations like if someone falls unconscious, is having trouble breathing, and similar instances. The CDC notes that operators, local and state governments, and other similar authorities can still impose their own rules on wearing face masks in these places.