JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Travelers nationwide will still be required to wear face masks on public transit after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the order would be extended to May 3, 2022.

While COVID-19 cases remain low in Mississippi, cities like Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and New York City have seen surges in recent days.

“We have to look at the science. We have to look at what’s going on, and this BA.2 subvariant of the coronavirus is much more infectious, and it’s starting to show itself in different populations,” said Dr. Timothy Quinn, of Quinn Healthcare in Ridgeland.

With the extension of the mask requirement, CDC officials said they need more time to study the BA.2 omicron subvariant, which is driving up cases nationwide.

A frequent flier, Nicholas Dorazio, said after traveling, he believes the mandate is unnecessary.

“They thought that this did something to help… that this little piece of cotton did something to help was just absolutely ridiculous,” he said.

Fellosea Ackerson said she rarely travels by plane and appreciates the mandate extension.

“We need the masks because we need to stay safe. People should have a choice, but my choice would be to wear the mask,” she said.

The mandate was set to expire on April 18, 2022. According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), there have been more than 700 incidents of unruly passengers related to face masks since the beginning of 2022.