New CDC Order Will Require Wearing Masks on Ships & For All Travel in the U.S.

The CDC will require the wearing of face masks for travel in the United States. - Photo by Canva

In an effort to combat the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, effective February 2, 2021, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has issued a new order which will require the wearing of face masks by all travelers into, within, or out of the United States, on airplanes, ships, ferries, trains, subways, buses, taxis, and ride-shares. This new requirement applies to travelers in U.S. transportation hubs including: airports, marinas or seaports, train, bus, and subway stations, and any other areas that provide mass transportation. Cruise ships as well as traveling through cruise ports, within the United States will fall under this new order by the CDC. 

“America’s transportation systems are essential,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH. “Given how interconnected most transportation systems are across our nation and the world, when infected persons travel on public conveyances without wearing a mask and with others who are not wearing masks, the risk of interstate and international transmission can grow quickly.”

Transportation operators will be responsible for all persons to wear face masks when boarding, disembarking, and for the duration of travel. The CDC’s order states that masks must be worn except in the following scenarios: 

  • While eating, drinking, or taking medication for brief periods
  • While communication with an individual who is hearing impaired when the ability to see the mouth is required for communication
  • On an aircraft, when the use of oxygen masks is required 
  • If unconscious (for reasons other than sleeping), incapacitated, or unable to be awakened 
  • When asked to remove a mask to verify one’s identity, such as during a TSA screening or when asked to do so by a ticket or gate agent 

Those that are exempt from the CDC’s new order include those under the age of 2, a person with a disability who cannot wear a mask or safely wear a mask, or an individual whose wearing of a mask in the workplace could create a risk to health, safety or job duty.

The CDC’s order will go into effect at 11:59 PM EST, today, Monday, February 1, 2021. The agency has not specified an end date to this new guidance. At this time, most major cruise lines in the United States are not slated to resume operations and have canceled sailings through the end of April 2021 and beyond. 

To read the official announcement from the CDC as well as specifics of this order visit: https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2021/p0130-requires-face-masks.html

We will continue to update this article as additional guidance is released.

Read More: 

When Will Cruise Lines Sail Again?

CDC Issues Framework for Conditional Sailing Order for Ships 

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