By Mel Barnard
President Biden signed an executive order this month mandating the use of face masks throughout the nation on domestic and international modes of travel. While mask-wearing is a requirement for most methods of travel already, the decision has largely been up to individual state and local governments on how to enforce safety. The Transport Workers Union President praised this action, calling it “a long overdue measure to protect workers” and “about … time our government lived up to its obligations to public health”.
The current death toll of COVID-19 is over 500,000. More people have died from this pandemic than from WW2, the Korean War, and Vietnam put together. Although the vaccine gives hope, already variant strains of the virus and difficulties with the rollout threaten a quick return to normal. As transportation systems attempt to reopen, frontline workers like those who work in public transportation need protections to stop another wave.