Federal Mandate Requires Masks On Public Transportation

A new federal mandate and accompanying directives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) make failure to wear a cloth or fabric mask on a bus or in a facility for public transportation a violation of federal law.

On Sunday, January 31, 2021, the TSA issued a memorandum including Security Directive (SD) 1582/84-21-01: Security Measures – Face Mask requirements. The memo and SD clarify and implement the January 21, 2021, Executive Order on promoting measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by travelers within the United States. This SD also supports enforcement of the CDC Order mandating masks that was issued on January 29, 2021. The SD applies to passenger railroads, intercity bus services and public transportation.

Regarding wearing masks on public transportation, the directive states, “A properly worn mask completely covers the nose and mouth of the wearer. A mask should be secured to the head, including with ties or ear loops. A mask should fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face. Masks do not include face shields. Masks can be either manufactured or homemade and should be a solid piece of material without slits, exhalation valves or punctures.”

The CDC mandate includes three exceptions to the masking mandate:

  • Children under the age of 2,
  • People with disabilities who cannot wear a mask, or cannot safely wear a mask, because of the disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq.), and
  • People for whom wearing a mask would create a risk to workplace health, safety, or job duty as determined by the relevant workplace safety guidelines or federal regulations

Passengers must stipulate they qualify for one of these exceptions if they are not wearing a mask.

Masks are available to the public at the Metro Bus Transit Center.