Publish date:

Klobuchar joins group of senators asking CDC, TSA to potentially update face mask rules for planes, trains

Some medical experts say it's still not time to lift the mask requirement.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar and some of her Senate colleagues are asking federal health and transportation officials to update the public on the current mask requirement for planes and buses.

In a letter to both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Klobuchar and three other senators (one a Democrat, two of them Republicans) asked for an "update" on the current travel guidance with regards to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Citing the CDC's May guidance that fully vaccinated individuals no longer need to wear a mask or socially distance, the senators requested answers to some transmission- and travel-related questions by July 12, 2021.

"If the requirement for wearing masks while traveling can be safely lifted and would serve the public health interest, then we believe it would benefit the traveling public," the letter concludes.

Related: Edina executive slams Delta after he's accused of trafficking daughter with special needs

The current federal regulations require travelers to wear masks, regardless of vaccination status, on planes, trains, buses, boats or other forms of public transportation, and while at public transit hubs (such as an airport).

Some experts are urging caution, citing the large number of people still unvaccinated, plus the increasing spread of the more transmissible Delta variant, as reasons to keep the face covering requirement in place for travel. 

Here are a couple tweets from Minnesota medical professionals, for example:

The number of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations has precipitously dropped in Minnesota since an April-May spike fueled by the B.1.1.7 variant. After nearing 700 COVID-19 hospitalizations in mid-May, the Minnesota Department of Health this week reported fewer than 100 patients admitted to hospitals around the state because of the coronavirus. But that's not the case everywhere. 

As the Washington Post recently reported, the Delta variant is filling hospitals in "rural, lightly vaccinated" parts of the U.S., with the publisher specifically naming Arkansas, Missouri, Nevada and Utah. 

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading epidemiologist, said in mid-June that two doses of the Pfizer and AstraZenaca vaccines are 88% effective at preventing symptoms caused by the Delta variant, while expecting testing to show similar protection with the Moderna vaccine. 

The Delta variant (B.1.617.2) is quickly on its way to becoming the dominant strain in the U.S. This CDC variant tracker shows that Delta made up 20.6% of cases in the U.S. in the 14 days ending June 19. It reached that level after rocketing from 2.8% of cases May 22 and then 9.5% in the two weeks of data ending June 5. 

Next Up

Yia Vang - media photo - crop 2

Union Hmong Kitchen will move into Mpls. food hall

Chef Yia Vang said they're "so excited to settle in and have a home."

ISSAboveYou - Duluth North Shore - Oct 18 2021

Watch: Mille Lacs, Duluth captured in stunning video from ISS

The space station provides a vantage point 260 miles above the Earth's surface.


Ladies and gentlemen, The Weeknd has canceled his St. Paul show

He's made changes to his 2022 tour that involves scrapping his Xcel Energy Center gig.

Pixabay - police lights, tape

Man released from custody after admitting to fatal shooting in ND

Authorities said there is no threat to the public.


MN water tower in the running for Tank of the Year

It was the only water tank to receive more than 5,000 votes.

first snow

Any sign of snow in the forecast for Minnesota?

The stars could align for some flurries in northern Minnesota this week, but that's about it.

Flickr - 14 year old vaccine shot - Navy Medicine

Walz announces $200 reward for kids 12-17 who get COVID shots

Those ages have the lowest vaccination rates among all eligible age groups.


Pexels - woman grocery shopping mask covi

CDC: Masks recommended in places with 'substantial or high' transmission

This new guidance applies to everyone, regardless of vaccination status.

mask airplane

TSA doubles fines for people who don't wear masks on planes, buses and trains

Those who violate the federal facemask mandate will face stiffer fines.

minnesota state fair

State Fair could require masks indoors, capacity limits not ruled out

Things could change before Aug. 26, but an indoor mask mandate appears likely.

Melvin Carter

Minneapolis and St. Paul to require face masks in city buildings

The mayors are also urging businesses to adopt mask rules for customers.

face mask

Just 8 MN counties remain below CDC's face mask guidance threshold

Face masks are now suggested in public, indoor spaces in 90% of the state.

Flickr - face masks covid pole - Ivan Radic

The 14 MN counties with 'substantial or high' COVID-19 transmission

The CDC says everyone in these areas should wear a mask in indoor public places.

Minnesota-Canada border

CDC: Do not travel to Canada, even if you are vaccinated

The CDC has issued its highest travel alert level for Canada.