If you plan on traveling soon, you may be able to say goodbye to wearing a mask. On April 18th, a federal judge in Florida decided that the national mask mandate should be dropped. This ruling allows transit agencies and airlines to decide on mask requirements individually. Though some airlines and transit agencies decided to drop mask restrictions immediately, others chose to keep the mask mandate in place. This has left some travelers confused about where they can and cannot travel without a mask, and has left others concerned about their safety while traveling. So, what does the mask mandate mean for travel going forward, and where can you travel without wearing a mask? Here’s what you should know:
Why Was the Mask Mandate Dropped?
The CDC recently decided that the nationwide mask mandate should be extended until May 3, 2022. But that decision was reversed on April 18, 2022, after federal judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle ruled that the nationwide mandate should be dropped because it was “unlawful.” Though the mandate was dropped, the Biden administration still recommends that airline passengers continue to wear masks.
What Travel Companies Dropped Their Mask Mandates?
Numerous travel companies decided to drop their mask mandate, including many airlines. Some of the airlines that have dropped their mask mandate include:
- American Airlines
- Alaska Airlines
- Delta Airlines
- Frontier Airlines
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Southwest Airlines
- Spirit Airlines
- Sun Country Airlines
- United Airlines
It’s important to note that many of these airlines have dropped their mask mandate for domestic flights only. When flying to an international destination, you may still have to wear a mask while flying. This is all dependent on the rules and restrictions of your arrival country. If you aren’t sure if you have to wear a mask on your upcoming flight, give your airline a call and clarify.
Besides some airlines dropping their mask mandates, another travel giant, Amtrak, has also decided to drop its mask mandate. All passengers and employees riding on Amtrak trains no longer need to wear a mask.
Where Are Masks Still Required?
Though many places are relaxing their mask requirements, some places still require people to wear masks. Many public transit systems require that passengers wear masks, including transit systems located in New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Currently, there is no plan for the mask mandates to be dropped, but they could be dropped if COVID cases significantly decline in the United States.
What’s the Current Status of COVID in the United States?
As of April 22, 2022, the total number of COVID cases recorded in the United States is 80.8 million, and the number of total deaths is just over 989,000. Over the course of the last week, the average number of new COVID cases is over just over 43,000 new cases per day. You can stay up to date on the current coronavirus situation in the United States on the New York Times website.
What Can I Do to Keep Myself Safe While Traveling?
Even though the nationwide mask mandate has been lifted, there are still some things that you should do while traveling to keep yourself safe. During your next trip, be sure to do the following:
- Wash your hands with soap and water often
- Sanitize your frequently used items
- Keep your distance from others
- Stay hydrated
- Be respectful of those around you
Do your best to practice these things while traveling. They will help to keep you and those around you safe and healthy.
How Can I Obtain a Passport or Visa For an Upcoming Trip?
If you have an upcoming trip, stay safe, stay healthy, and enjoy the journey. If you plan on traveling internationally and need a passport or visa, we can help! You can get the process started on the Swift website. If you have any questions about obtaining a passport or visa, please contact our team. We’d be happy to help! No matter where you plan on traveling to, we’ll get you there!