TSA Set To Fine Travelers Who Refuse To Wear A Mask Following White House Executive Order

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Marlo Safi Culture Reporter
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Travelers who don’t wear masks at airport security screening checkpoints and at bus and rail stations could face fines, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced Sunday.

The TSA will implement parts of President Joe Biden’s Executive Order on Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel, which includes a mask requirement at airports and in all forms of public transportation. The requirement is effective beginning Tuesday until May 11, and failure to comply with the requirement could result in civil penalties, the TSA announced in the statement. (RELATED: Biden Pledged To Seek ‘Consensus.’ Then He Signed 25 Executive Orders In His First Week)

Passengers wait in line to enter a Transportation Security Administration checkpoint at Los Angeles International Airport ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday in Los Angeles, California, November 25, 2020. (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

“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,” the statement said. “This will help prevent further spread of COVID-19 and encourage a unified government response.”

Biden’s executive order, issued Jan. 21, called on all executive departments and agencies that have authority over airports, commercial aircraft and all forms of public transportation to implement the mask requirement in compliance with Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines. The TSA said that its mask requirement is in accordance with the CDC order and includes exemptions for travelers under the age of 2 and those with a disability who cannot wear a mask. 

A security agent at the airport checkpoint will request that travelers lower their mask briefly so the agent can verify their identity.

Those who refuse to wear a mask will not be permitted into the terminal and gate area of the airport, and may face a fine for attempting to “circumvent screening requirements, interfering with screening personnel, or a combination of those offenses,” the statement said. Travelers without a mask may be denied entry, boarding or continued transport at airports, passenger rails or bus systems.