News Strong – Washington, DC: CDC reports –
Since November 2020, the United Kingdom (UK) has reported a rapid increase in COVID-19 cases in London and southeast England. This rapid increase in cases has been linked to a different version—or variant—of the virus that causes COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2). Public health professionals in the UK are evaluating the characteristics of this new variant.

Air travel requires spending time in security lines and airport terminals, which can bring you in close contact with other people and frequently touched surfaces. Most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on flights because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes. However, social distancing is difficult on crowded flights, and you may have to sit near others.

Transmission of the virus through travelers has led to—and continues to lead to—interstate and international spread of the virus which causes COVID-19. Appropriately worn masks reduce the chances of getting and spreading COVID-19—particularly given the evidence of pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic transmission of the virus.​

CDC strongly recommends appropriate masks be worn by all passengers and by all personnel operating the conveyance while on public transportation conveyances (e.g., airplanes, ships, ferries, trains, subways, buses, taxis, ride-shares) and at transportation hubs and other locations where people board such conveyances (e.g. airports, bus or ferry terminals, train stations, seaports).

  • People should wear masks that cover both the mouth and nose when waiting for, traveling on, or departing from public conveyances. People should also wear masks at an airport, bus or ferry terminal, train or subway station, seaport, or similar area that provides transportation.
  • People should wear masks when traveling into, within, or out of the United States on public conveyances.
  • Conveyance operators transporting people should refuse to board anyone not wearing a mask and require all people onboard, whether passengers or employees, to wear masks for the duration of travel except in the following circumstances:
    • for brief periods while eating, drinking, or taking medication;
    • if unconscious, incapacitated, unable to be awakened, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance; and
    • when necessary to temporarily remove the mask to verify one’s identity such as during Transportation Security Administration screening or when asked to do so by the ticket or gate agent or any law enforcement official
    • for children under the age of 2 years old

Public transportation conveyance operators should ensure that any person on the conveyance wears a mask when boarding, disembarking, and for the duration of travel. Depending on the circumstances, conveyances operators should take the following actions:

  • provide information to people purchasing tickets or otherwise booking transportation (in advance or on the day of departure) about the need to wear a mask on the conveyance and that failure to comply will result in denial of boarding. Operators should provide this information again at the time of boarding;
  • board only those people who wear appropriate masks;
  • monitor the conveyance for any person who does not wear a mask and seek compliance from such person; and
  • at the earliest opportunity, disembark any person who refuses to comply
  • if possible, have masks available for those passengers who do not have a mask