People in masks in the subwayPhoto: SmartPhotoLab (Shutterstock)

Starting today, the CDC officially requires travelers to wear masks on trains, airplanes, buses, taxis, ridesharing, and other forms of “public transportation”. The order, what you can read hereprovides a precise definition of what constitutes a “mask” – bandanas and face shields do not count.

What You Should Know When Traveling

You must wear a mask when boarding, driving, and disembarking your plane, train, boat or whatever. The rules also apply to “transport hubs” such as airports and bus stops, as well as to employees and travelers. As you go through the process of traveling, expect to hear announcements and see signs of the new rules.

If you refuse to wear a mask, the driver or crew shall refuse to service you. If you take off your mask in the middle of the trip and refuse to put it back on, you can get rid of it. They also violate federal law.

The new rule does not apply to people who drive their own car for personal use, but rather to drivers and ridesharing drivers like Uber and Lyft.

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Masks are not required for children under two years of age or for people with a disability that makes it impossible for them to safely wear a mask. The driver or crew may ask for documentation to demonstrate that you have a relevant disability. (Here’s why This is not a HIPAA violation.)

Illustration for article titled Masks Are Now Mandatory on Public Transportation

Can i ever take it off

Yes, you can take it off “for a short time” to eat, drink or take medication. You cannot bypass the rule by pretending to drink a bottle of water for the duration of the flight.

You may be asked to temporarily remove your mask when presenting photo ID. Masks can also be removed from various emergencies, e.g. B. by donning oxygen masks that fall from the ceiling when an aircraft loses cabin pressure. It’s also okay to remove a mask if it is necessary to communicate with someone who reads the lips.

What counts as a mask?

The CDC Are defined an acceptable mask that includes N95, surgical masks, and most cloth masks. The mask must also go over your damn nose counting.

Illustration for article titled Masks Are Now Mandatory on Public Transportation

The following masks are not acceptable:

  • Bandanas (too loose)
  • Masks that are knitted or loosely woven so that you can see light through them
  • Mesh masks or masks with holes
  • Masks with valves (because they have a big old hole in them)
  • Face shield (but you can wear one in addition to a mask)
  • Balaclavas or scarves (also no masks)

Clear masks that allow lip reading are fine. Leggings (like buffs) are allowed if you fold them so that the part over the mouth and nose has at least two layers.

Basically, not much changes if you’ve been wearing masks in a meaningful way all along. However, the airlines already had similar rules USA Today notes that flight crews say it is easier to enforce federal law than company policy.