The Transportation Security Administration has set fines anywhere from $250 to $1,500 for air travelers who refuse to wear masks. The announcement follows a directive issued last week from the Department of Homeland Security giving TSA the authority to enforce the CDC’s mask mandate at the nation’s airports.
Beginning Tuesday, Feb. 2, “passengers without a mask may be denied entry, boarding, or continued transport. Failure to comply with the mask requirement can result in civil penalties,” the TSA said in a statement.
Following President Joe Biden’s executive order mandating face mask use during travel, the CDC issued new rules requiring face masks be worn at “any airport, bus terminal, marina, seaport or other port, subway station, terminal, train station, US port of entry, or any other location that provides transportation.”
Passengers are now legally required to wear face masks that comply with the CDC requirements which went into effect Feb. 1. Fines for air travelers who refuse to comply range from $250 for first-time offenses to $1,500 for repeat offenders, according to the TSA. Furthermore, the agency said it may “seek a sanction amount that falls outside these ranges,” depending on what it called “substantial aggravating or mitigating factors.” In addition, the agency said airlines and airports will have the ability to report violations so TSA can issue penalties to customers who refuse to wear a face mask.
“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 Darby LaJoye, a TSA senior official. “This will help prevent further spread of COVID-19 and encourage a unified government response. “
The rules remain in place until at least May 11.