Pressure Builds on Biden Administration to Lift Transportation Mask Mandates
By Caroline Vakil
April 2, 2022
The Biden administration is under increasing pressure to lift its transportation mask mandate, set to run until April 18, as officials weigh the risks of the latest omicron subvariant against rising frustrations among states and industry executives.
“We hear from our operators all over the country who are saying that customers are choosing not to get on the bus to commute, not to get on the bus to take a trip between two cities, or not to take a tour or charter someplace because of the mask requirements,” Peter Pantuso, president and CEO of American Bus Association (ABA), told The Hill.
The head of the motorcoach and group tour association was among the transportation executives who wrote to President Biden last month urging for the federal mask mandate to be dropped.
Pantuso told The Hill that the industry has been struggling amid the pandemic, and its problems have been compounded by rising oil prices in response to the United States’ decision to bar Russian energy imports.
“We have been hit, and we continue to struggle. We lost upwards of 40 percent of the companies in our industry through the pandemic, and we continue to lose companies every day,” he told The Hill. “So anything that we can do to help that recovery, even, you know, albeit lifting the masks and getting more people back on the bus, is absolutely critical.”