US extends mask rule for travel while weighing new approach

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal officials are extending the requirement for masks on planes and public transportation through mid-April while taking steps that could lead to lifting the rule.

The mask mandate was scheduled to expire March 18, but the Transportation Security Administration said Thursday that it will extend the requirement through April 18.

TSA said the extra month will give the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention time to develop new, more targeted policies that will consider the number of cases of COVID-19 nationally and in local communities, and the risk of new variants. The TSA enforces the mask rule, which extends to planes, buses, trains and transit hubs.