The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) on Friday updated its plan to enforce the U.S.’s face mask mandate, which was put in place as part of President Biden’s Executive Order on Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel.
The TSA, in a news release, said that it will recommend a fine ranging from $250 for the first offense to up to $1,500 for repeat offenders for those who violate the mask mandate, which started on Feb. 2 at all airport screening checkpoints and throughout the commercial and public transportation systems in the U.S.
The TSA said that it “may seek a sanction amount that falls outside these ranges” depending on other factors, but the plan is for the TSA to receive reports of violations from “transportation system operators” and then issue the penalties itself.
The mask mandate was first announced on Jan. 31 and the TSA, shortly after, said that it would “full comply with the order.
“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. This will help prevent further spread of COVID-19 and encourage a unified government response,” Darby LaJoye, senior official performing the duties of the TSA Administrator said at the time.
“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.”
The order requires all passengers and crewmembers traveling through airports or flying aboard airplanes operated by air carriers traveling on domestic flights or inbound to the U.S., along with those traveling through passenger rail or bus systems, to wear a face mask (it also likely includes passengers aboard cruise ships when that industry is able to restart).
While the TSA will ask travelers to temporarily lower the mask to verify their identity at security checkpoints, the face masks have to cover the nose and mouth of all passengers over the age of two and face shields and/or goggles “are not an acceptable substitute” for the use of a mask.