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US mask mandate for public transit will be extended through Jan. 18

The current TSA mask mandate for travelers lasts through Sept. 13.

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Passengers will likely be required to wear masks on US public transportation through the end of the year.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The administration of US President Joe Biden is planning to extend the mask requirement on airplanes, trains and buses, as well as at airports and train stations, through Jan. 18. This comes as the highly contagious delta variant of the COVID-19 virus spreads across the globe. The current TSA mask mandate for travelers goes through Sept. 13.

Major US airlines were told about the planned extension on Tuesday during a call with the Transportation Security Administration and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to Reuters. A TSA representative confirmed the extension to CNET.

"The purpose of TSA's mask directive is to minimize the spread of COVID-19 on public transportation," the representative said in a statement.

The CDC and Airlines for America, whose members include United Airlines and American Airlines, didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

The CDC issued an order in January requiring face masks be worn by anyone on public transportation, including all passengers and personnel "traveling into, within, or out of the United States and U.S. territories." It also called for face coverings while at transportation hubs like airports, bus or ferry terminals and train or subway stations.

In June, the CDC amended its order so that people no longer have to wear a mask while outdoors at transportation hubs or in outdoor areas of vehicles like buses or ferries, though it still recommends people who aren't fully vaccinated continue to wear masks in those areas.

See also: Coronavirus delta variant: What you should know 

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.