By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The Transportation and Security Administration (TSA) extended its mask directive that requires passengers to wear face coverings on federal transportation.

The mandate was set to expire on September 13 and is now expected to be extended through January 18, 2022.

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

Association of Flight Attendants-CWA President Sara Nelson, representing nearly 50,000 Flight Attendants at 17 airlines, released the following statement on TSA’s extension of the mask mandate:

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“Masks are the most effective tool to stop the spread of COVID-19. While vaccination has been key to the increased air travel demand, the lagging vaccination rates and rise of the Delta variant has caused cases to skyrocket again – threatening lives, continued virus mutation, and recovery from this pandemic.”

“We have a responsibility in aviation to keep everyone safe and do our part to end the pandemic, rather than aid the continuation of it. Air travel is one of the most controlled indoor spaces with layers of safety protocols that make it possible to serve our communities.”

“Administrator Pekoske’s decision in coordination with the Biden administration to continue the TSA enforcement directive for the CDC transportation mask mandate will help tremendously to keep passengers and aviation workers safe.”

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“We all look forward to the day masks are no longer required but we’re not there yet. Let’s focus on putting COVID-19 in check together. Get vaxxed, wear a mask, be kind, and come fly with us!”