HOUSTON – An end to the mask mandate for domestic airports and airlines?
After hearing the policy may be around for quite some time, it may now be gone in a couple of weeks.
“Time to go away,” said Grant Mack, a father from Colorado who was traveling with his family through Hobby Airport on Monday.
His wife, Stephanie, tells KPRC 2 Investigates she thought the mandate was making its own departure days before their family vacation.
“It was supposed to go away the day before we went on our trip, and they extended it,” said Stephanie.
Aviation experts are anticipating the mandate to end on April 18 after it was extended one more month a few weeks ago.
Travelers and workers at Hobby were excited to hear a potential end is on the horizon.
“We might not have to wear our mask? Sweet,” said traveler Wendy Werner.
Fellow traveler Devin Campbell agrees.
“Amazing, because I know a lot of people are tired of them,” said Campbell as he was walking to catch a flight to South Carolina.
“It’s ridiculous,” said U.S. Representative Troy Nehls who sits on the House Subcommittee on Aviation. He admitted he will be shocked if the mandate receives another extension.
“I tell you something, there is no reason for us to be wearing a mask on an airplane today,” said Nehls.
How does the medical community feel about it?
“If you’re immune-compromised, I would definitely continue to wear a mask, but otherwise, I support the lift of the mask mandates,” said Dr. Jennifer Ukwu of Memorial Hermann Medical Group Pearland in Pearland.
Ukwu said their much optimism about the sharp decline in Covid cases locally and nationwide.
On March 23, several airline CEOs sent a letter to President Joe Biden calling for an end to mask mandates.
Dallas Aviation Attorney Jon Kettles said the airlines have made a good argument.
“I think that on April 18, the rule will sunset and the requirement will go away,” he said.
However, Kettles also believes a form of the mandate may remain for specific destinations.
“It would not surprise me if they may let the mask mandate expire for domestic flights, but you may still be required to wear a mask on an international flight,” said Kettles.