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Travelers react to extension of TSA mask mandate for planes, public transportation, airports

Airports anticipate average daily passenger travel to surpass 90% of pre-pandemic levels throughout March.

ST PAUL, Minn. — As spring break travel kicks into gear, and airports anticipate average daily passenger travel to surpass 90% of pre-pandemic levels throughout March, travelers hoping to leave face coverings in the past, will now have to continue wearing them at airports and on planes.

"I really think it's necessary," said Daniela Weiner, from Minneapolis.

Weiner was one of many at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport who prefer wearing a mask while traveling.

"I'm pretty comfortable and I really feel like everyone should be wearing a mask," said Weiner.

Travelers C.J. Larson and Nathan Casper agree.

"I'm just so used to it, that it's no sense in not wearing it anymore," said Casper. 

"Wearing a mask in an airport honestly isn't that huge of a detriment," said Larson.

The face mask requirement, initially set to expire next week, is now extended at airports, on planes, buses and rail systems through April 18. 

RELATED: US extends mask rule for travel while weighing new approach

Some travelers say this latest update caught them off guard.

"It's kind of annoying because other places don't require you to wear them," said Shawn Wonsmos. "I get it from a health perspective, but I don't have to wear it at restaurants, so I don't see why I have to wear it here."

The extension comes despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shifting their guidance last month – saying most Americans are safe without a mask indoors – due to a decrease in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. 

"I feel like places are just kind of picking and choosing and deciding to keep them on for as long as possible," said Wonsmos.

In a statement, TSA administrator David Pekoske said, the "TSA's collaboration with industry and federal partners has been instrumental throughout this pandemic, and now we are seeing a light at the end of the tunnel."

RELATED: Mask rules for school districts across the Twin Cities metro

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