Keep that mask handy if you are riding a Yakima Transit bus or an airplane. That's because a federal mask requirement related to public transportation has been extended through May 3rd. Health officials say it could be extended longer if COVID cases increase in the future.

If you ride the bus or and airplane you'll need that mask

The federal mask mandate extension means Yakima Transit employees and passengers will need to continue wearing masks or face coverings while riding the bus or using Dial-A-Ride services. The mask mandate also applies to other areas. Passengers and personnel at the Yakima Air Terminal and on flights are also required to wear masks as well.

The mask mandate was supposed to be over April 18

In March, the federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) originally announced the public transportation mask requirement would be in place through April 18th. That changed on Wednesday when the TSA extended the requirement another 15 days. The extension is in place because of "concerns about the Omicron COVID-19 variant, especially the BA 2 subvariant that makes up more than 85 percent of U.S. cases."

The Mayo Clinic at mayoclinic.org offers some great information about masks;

Medical masks

Also called surgical masks, these are loosefitting disposable masks. They're meant to protect the wearer from contact with droplets and sprays that may contain germs. A medical mask also filters out large particles in the air when the wearer breathes in.
To make medical masks more form-fitting, knot the ear loops where they attach to the mask. Then fold and tuck the unneeded material under the edges.
Wearing a medical mask doesn't increase the level of carbon dioxide in the air you breathe.

KN95 masks

A KN95 mask is a type of respirator that meets certain international standards. It offers more protection than a medical mask does because it filters out both large and small particles when the wearer inhales. However, be cautious when buying a KN95, as many fake masks are sold that don't meet quality requirements.
N95 masks. An N95 mask is a type of respirator that meets U.S. quality standards. An N95 offers the highest level of protection. It offers more protection than a medical mask does because it filters out both large and small particles when the wearer inhales. Non-surgical N95s can be used by the general public. The CDC has said surgical N95 masks should be reserved for health care providers. Health care providers must be trained and pass a fit test before using a surgical N95 mask. Like surgical masks, N95 masks are intended to be disposable. However, researchers are testing ways to disinfect and reuse them.
Some N95 masks, and even some cloth masks, have valves that make them easier to breathe through. Unfortunately, these masks don't filter the air the wearer breathes out. For this reason, they've been banned in some places.

Cloth masks

A cloth mask is intended to trap respiratory droplets that are released when the wearer talks, coughs or sneezes. It also acts as a barrier to protect the wearer from inhaling droplets released by others. The most effective cloths masks are made of multiple layers of tightly woven fabric like cotton. A mask with layers will stop more droplets from getting through your mask or escaping from it. Wearing a mask doesn't increase the level of carbon dioxide in the air you breathe.
If you wear a gaiter, make sure it has at least two layers of cloth.

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