You still need to wear a mask on planes, trains, and buses - even if you've been fully vaccinated

You still need to wear a mask on planes, trains, and buses - even if you've been fully vaccinated
Joey Hadden/Insider
  • The CDC says fully vaccinated Americans still have to wear masks on public transit.
  • This covers domestic plane, train, and bus journeys as well as global travel to or from the US.
  • On Thursday, the CDC advised that vaccinated people could remove masks even in most indoor settings.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday advised that fully vaccinated Americans didn't have to wear masks indoors, provided individual states and businesses allow that - but the new guidance doesn't apply to public transit.

Fully vaccinated people will still have to wear a mask on public transit, including planes, trains, and buses, the CDC said, because of the Transportation Security Administration's mask mandate, which isn't due to expire until September 13.

This covers transport into, within, or out of the US as well as on foot in transport hubs such as airports and stations.

But Americans traveling within the US who have been fully vaccinated no longer need to quarantine or get tested before or after travel, the CDC said. And fully vaccinated Americans traveling overseas don't need to get tested before leaving the US unless their destination requires it. They should still get tested once they arrive back in the US, but they don't need to quarantine, the CDC said.

The CDC's new guidelines also say people still need to follow guidance set by their workplace or local businesses.


Israel and many European countries have rolled out or are mulling the use of vaccine passports, which would make it easier for transport companies, alongside venues like restaurants and gyms, to identify who has been vaccinated.

But the US government said it wouldn't introduce federally mandated vaccine passports. Some states, including Arizona, Montana, Idaho, Texas, Florida, and Utah, have banned the passports, with Gov. Doug Ducey of Arizona saying people "should not be required by the government to share their private medical information."

This makes it tricky for the transport companies that are requiring guests and staff to be vaccinated. Norwegian Cruise Line, which is mandating vaccines for travelers and crew, threatened to stop sailing out of Florida after Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order banning vaccine passports.