WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) says travelers who violate President Biden’s latest mask order for domestic and international travel could be charged $1,500 or more.
The TSA recently made an update to its original bulletin regarding Biden’s executive order on promoting COVID-19 safety in domestic and international travel, which he signed on the first day of his presidency.
The update says violations provide a range of fines for travelers, from $250 for first offenses, to $1,500 for repeat offenders. The TSA may seek fines outside of this range.
On Feb. 2, the TSA began requiring individuals to wear a mask at TSA airport screening checkpoints and throughout the commercial and public transportation systems. This requirement will remain effective until May 11.
“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, the senior official performing the duties of the TSA administrator. “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.”
The TSA bulletin says the mask requirement extends to the nation’s domestic network of airports, passengers and crew members 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.