Washington DC Feb 10 2021
Fines for not wearing a mask while traveling will start at $250 — for first time offenders — and go up to $1,500 for repeat offenders, according to the Transportation Security Administration.
The administration said it will support President Joe Biden’s executive order that requires travelers to wear face masks when they are in airports, bus, and rail stations, as well as while on passenger aircraft, public transportation, passenger railroads, and over-the-road buses operating on scheduled fix-routes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also issued an emergency order requiring individuals to wear masks on conveyances and at stations, ports, or similar transportation hubs, which administration officials said they will also support.
“TSA will fully comply with the President’s Executive Orders, CDC guidance, and the DHS National Emergency determination to ensure healthy and secure travel across all transportation sectors,” said senior TSA official Darby LaJoye. “This will help prevent further spread of COVID-19 and encourage a unified government response. As we continue to experience impacts from this pandemic, we are committed to this measure as the right thing to do for the TSA workforce, for our industry stakeholders, and for passengers.”
Earlier this week, administration officials required masks to be worn at TSA airport screening checkpoints and throughout commercial and public transportation systems. That began on Feb. 2. The requirement is in effect until at least May 11.
Fines administered by TSA officials will be based on “substantial aggravating or mitigating factors,” which means the fines may fall outside the range presented. The administration has provided transportation system operators specific guidance on how to report violations so that TSA may issue penalities to those who refuse to wear a face mask, according to the TSA’s website.
According to the TSA’s announcement on the federal face mask requirement
“The federal face mask requirement extends to the nation’s domestic network of airports; passengers and crewmembers flying aboard airplanes operated by domestic and foreign air carriers with inbound flights to U.S. ports of entry; and surface transportation modes, such as passenger rail, bus systems, and over-the-road bus companies. Passengers without a mask may be denied entry, boarding, or continued transport. Failure to comply with the mask requirement can result in civil penalties.
Whether beginning the security screening process at the airport Travel Document Checker (TDC) or submitting checked baggage for screening, all passengers who appear to be over the age of 2 must properly wear a face mask throughout the security screening process. The officer at the TDC will request that travelers temporarily lower the mask to verify their identity. Those who approach the TDC without a mask will be asked to wear or obtain one to proceed. Passengers who refuse to wear a mask will not be permitted to enter the secure area of the airport, which includes the terminal and gate area. Depending on the circumstance, those who refuse to wear a mask may be subject to a civil penalty for attempting to circumvent screening requirements, interfering with screening personnel, or a combination of those offenses.”
CDC order on face masks:
Face masks should cover the nose and mouth and fit snugly against the sides without gaps
Masks can be either manufactured or homemade and should be a solid piece of material without slits, exhalation valves, or punctures.
While medical masks and N-95 respirators fulfill CDC and TSA’s requirements, face shields and/or goggles are not an acceptable substitute for the use of a mask; however, they may be used in addition to an acceptable mask.
Exemptions include travelers under the age of 2, those with a disability who cannot wear a mask or cannot safely wear a mask because of the disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act, and those from whom a mask would create a risk to workplace health, safety, or job duty as determined by relevant workplace safety guidelines or federal regulations.
All commuters and airline travelers, including persons considering international travel, should first check the CDC website prior to taking their trip.