Mask Mandate for Transportation Extended

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me_little_me

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I have tried to search this site and Amtrak's site to find specifics about the kind of masks required. Are commercial plain cloth masks acceptable? Cheapie surgical look-alikes that provide much less protection than real surgical masks? I'm talking about the cloth masks that cover nose and mouth but no wire and the cheapies that have the wire in them to kinda hold the mask close over the nose.
 

Ryan

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Do they cover the mouth and nose? As long as the answer is yes, and they don’t fall under these prohibitions, you’re fine:

Amtrak’s website said:
Neck gaiters, open-chin triangle bandanas, face shields, and masks containing valves, mesh material or holes of any kind do not qualify as acceptable face coverings.
 

PaTrainFan

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Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former head of FDA and whom I feel has great credibiity in his commentary, has a viewpoint. While he doesn't give a timeline, he believes that after vaccines are widely available to children and Merck's antiviral pill is adopted that the pandemic will be over and we will enter the "endemic phase," meaning that Covid will be much like the annual flu. He does, however, believe the Delta variant will have largely burned its way through the country by Thanksgiving. Of course, one looming question is how many parents will allow their children to be vaccinated.
 

valkyrie

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I for one hope it gets extended indefinitely; it's turning out that general public mask-wearing reduces the spread of respiratory illnesses in general, period. It seems to be a good thing.
Feel free to wear a mask at any time on your train travels or anywhere else for that matter. I fully support your right to do so. I don't agree it's a good thing and will be very happy when there are no more mandates.
 

me_little_me

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Feel free to wear a mask at any time on your train travels or anywhere else for that matter. I fully support your right to do so. I don't agree it's a good thing and will be very happy when there are no more mandates.
I somewhat agree but would change your last statement to read:
I don't agree it's a good thing and will be very happy when there are is no more need for mandates.

We still need them because too many unvaccinated people don't care if they spread Covid to the rest of us, our children and grandchildren, their children and grandchildren, or anyone else, on Amtrak or anywhere.

I don't believe Amtrak or the governments would have any mandates if those people were vaccinated.
 

Mr.Technician

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At this point I'm wondering how likely a third (I think it was extended twice so far?) extension will be. To each his own, but traveling with a mask on most of the time (especially by coach where you lack a private room) just isn't the same. :confused:
 

flitcraft

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No one enjoys traveling with masks; the issue is, as was said upstream, will we still need an extension of the mask requirement. I would be thrilled if the answer is no, but I think the smart money is on, probably yes. We still have too large a percentage of the population that isn't vaccinated and hasn't gotten COVID yet. Till that happens, we're gonna be masking up. And, if a new variant shows up that is more deadly and/or vaccine resistant, all bets are off.
 

Eric in East County

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The wearing of masks in public places and while traveling will most likely be with us on a permanent basis, as new and more potent strains of the COVID virus emerge.

There is even talk that we might soon be required to wear medical-quality masks such as those worn by hospital personnel rather than the cloth masks that most of us are wearing.
 

flitcraft

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The wearing of masks in public places and while traveling will most likely be with us on a permanent basis, as new and more potent strains of the COVID virus emerge.

There is even talk that we might soon be required to wear medical-quality masks such as those worn by hospital personnel rather than the cloth masks that most of us are wearing.
Actually, that would be a wise personal decision. I have a set of very good, multi-layer cloth masks, but except for the 6 layer one, which I find hard to breathe through, I don't really think they are adequate protection for a virus as contagious as Delta. I still wear my cloth masks when I'm out for a walk and don't expect to encounter anyone, but when I go to the grocery store or to work, it's a KN-95 grade mask for me these days.
 
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Cal

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Personally, having a mask on does not hinder my enjoyment of just relaxing in the SSL in any way, shape, or form. I still get to sit back and take in the scenery. What can be annoying is off the the train (and outside in general) when you want some nice, crisp, and fresh air and the mask doesn't allow for that. Despite that however, I generally keep my mask on.
 

west point

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From the NY Times about Masks Take it for what you believe.

An Updated Guide to Face Masks
Tara Parker-Pope

Tara Parker-PopeDouble-masking in New York

Tony Cenicola/The New York Times
Studies show that a two-layer cloth mask with a third layer of filter material is the best non-medical mask. But filtration rates vary depending on the fabric. Hold it to the window to see how much light sneaks through.

Pro tip: Head ties create a tighter fit than ear loops.
 

AmtrakBlue

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Personally, having a mask on does not hinder my enjoyment of just relaxing in the SSL in any way, shape, or form. I still get to sit back and take in the scenery. What can be annoying is off the the train (and outside in general) when you want some nice, crisp, and fresh air and the mask doesn't allow for that. Despite that however, I generally keep my mask on.
As the weather gets colder, for the rest of us ;) , I’ll enjoy wearing my mask outside in place of the scarf I usually wear. :)
 

AmtrakBlue

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From the NY Times about Masks Take it for what you believe.

An Updated Guide to Face Masks
Tara Parker-Pope

Tara Parker-PopeDouble-masking in New York

Tony Cenicola/The New York Times
Studies show that a two-layer cloth mask with a third layer of filter material is the best non-medical mask. But filtration rates vary depending on the fabric. Hold it to the window to see how much light sneaks through.

Pro tip: Head ties create a tighter fit than ear loops.
I use masks that have behind the head/neck adjustable straps and uses a filter because the behind the ear ones mess with my CI processors when putting them on & taking them off.
 

MARC Rider

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I actually get a pretty good seal with adjustable ear loops. I have a 2-layer cloth mask with a PM2.5 filter insert. When I breathe, the mask goes in and out around my mouth, similar to what I see with the people using the N95 masks, and I don't notice anything escaping from the sides.

When it was real bad last winter, before I got vaccinated, I double masked.

I basically only mask indoor or outdoors if it started getting crowded, or any place where it's required.

Anyway, the point of the mask isn't to make a perfect seal or filter out every virus particle, it's to reduce how far the aerosol droplets that contain the virus particles spread. So if a little aerosol gets out and hangs around right around your head, that's a lot safer than no mask and the aerosol cloud spreading 6, 8,15 feet or more. And combined with proper ventilation and air circulation, those smaller aerosol clouds can be dissipated even more, further reducing the risk.
 

dwebarts

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As the weather gets colder, for the rest of us ;) , I’ll enjoy wearing my mask outside in place of the scarf I usually wear. :)
I have a couple of types of Tom Bihn multi-layer cloth masks I've been wearing that have a built-in neck strap, which is handy for dining. The flannel outer layered one was great last winter and will likely be my primary choice for the upcoming season as well when outdoors.

I usually have my 6-layer one with me and have been putting it on frequently outdoors due to a ridiculous amount of construction in my neighborhood, along with high winds kicking around airborne crud in general.

Long term, I think the East Asian comfort with wearing face masks will start to take hold here, especially for travel. The mandates will end at some point, and many will choose to keep masking up in certain situations.
 

jis

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Throughout the pandemic I have used an N95/KN95/FN95 mask, initially non-foldable ones with behind the head bands, but since the beginning of this year, folding ones with earloops. They have served me well so far, and I plan to continue using them as long as they are necessary. The folding ones are convenient because I can stash them away in my pocket easily when not in use. I have never used a cloth mask on a regular basis yet, though I do have a few double layer + filter.

In the early days when good masks were hard to come by, I dug into my large stash of N95s that I had collected for use during my trips to India to protect myself against common particulate pollution in India. That stash came in very handy and saw me through most of 2020, both for myself and several of my friends including a few who are RNs.
 

Ziv

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The new case numbers in the US have finally started going down but they have a long way to go. Worldometers numbers the 7 day rolling average of new cases peaked for the third or fourth time (depending on how you count peaks) on 9/14 at 182,044. We have been steadily, slowly, dropping since then and today the 7DRA is 98,322. But the 7DRA was at just 10,400 on 6/27 of this year. Deaths 7DRA is a lagging indicator and has come down much less.
And winter is coming. ;-)
 

MARC Rider

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The Science of Masking to Control COVID-19 (cdc.gov)

Masking does two things -- source control (exhalation) and filtration (inhalation). Apparently even basic cloth masks are very efficient at source control, so if everyone used them, especially in places with a lot of people, the transmission of the virus would be greatly reduced. They are not as efficient at filtration on inhalation as an N95 ,mask, but maybe that's not as important if the sources around you have been controlled. Efficient filtration is probably most important to people who are around a lot of people with known infection, that is, health care workers in, say, a Covid ward.

As the health experts have been constantly telling us, the pandemic can only be controlled by doing several things simultaneously: Social distancing, masking, getting vaccinated, and improving ventilation/air circulation of indoor spaces. If we don't do all of these at the same time, then we can't expect the pandemic to end.
 

jis

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Efficient filtration is probably most important to people who are around a lot of people with known infection, that is, health care workers in, say, a Covid ward.
That potentially describes almost any enclosed space in Florida since there is no telling what the people are or are not doing there just to make a strong political statement, even if it causes their own death. :( Unless you are in Florida you really have no way of knowing how truly and bizarrely bad the situation is in some places. It is the utter unpredictability that is the problem. There are many places that are perfectly sane, and then unexpectedly you walk into a den, in a manner of speaking. You just have to be prepared for the worst at all times if you are out and about.
 
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PVD

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When NYC was running more "centralized" testing sites before rolling out all the mobile units, a local library was commandeered for use. It had lots of temporary booths set up, both for registration and testing. Of course, masking was enforced, but each booth was also equipped with a portable HEPA filter for ramped up air filtration. On the way out, you were given a tote bag with brochures and other info, a bottle of hand sanitizer, and a package of masks. They were usually double layer cloth. I have a supply of higher level protection masks, but keep them around just in case.
 

joelkfla

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From the NY Times about Masks Take it for what you believe.

An Updated Guide to Face Masks
Tara Parker-Pope

Tara Parker-PopeDouble-masking in New York

Tony Cenicola/The New York Times
Studies show that a two-layer cloth mask with a third layer of filter material is the best non-medical mask. But filtration rates vary depending on the fabric. Hold it to the window to see how much light sneaks through.

Pro tip: Head ties create a tighter fit than ear loops.
For those without NYT access, here is a link from that article to a non-profit that purchases verified respirators & masks from safe sources, and resells them to consumers:


They have American-made N95's as low as 60¢ apiece before shipping. It came to 90¢ apiece after shipping & taxes to FL, which I believe to be a really good price for verified N95's.

NYT warned about buying from Amazon or other general shopping sites, finding listings for allegedly approved respirators that turned out to be hijacked or false. Some had overwhelmingly positive reviews, but analysis by a 3rd party found that most of those reviewers had a history of giving glowing reviews for products that they had received free "for evaluation."
 
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joelkfla

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When NYC was running more "centralized" testing sites before rolling out all the mobile units, a local library was commandeered for use. It had lots of temporary booths set up, both for registration and testing. Of course, masking was enforced, but each booth was also equipped with a portable HEPA filter for ramped up air filtration. On the way out, you were given a tote bag with brochures and other info, a bottle of hand sanitizer, and a package of masks. They were usually double layer cloth. I have a supply of higher level protection masks, but keep them around just in case.
Orange Co. FL used to give out a small bottle or 2 of sanitizer plus a box of cheap Chinese masks at their test sites, but they had stopped that the last time I went for a test.
 

PVD

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I understand the mask mandate, and have no problem with it. Since asymptomatic (or pre symptomatic) spread are a real issue, I don't think it is going away anytime soon. Sadly, there are still too many areas in the country where testing is not easily obtained, particularly on tight timelines and at very reasonable cost, since testing immediately before travel would be extremely beneficial.
 
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