Transportation Security Administration is enacting a fine ranging from $250 for the first offense and up to $1,500 for repeat offenses for those who refuse to wear a face mask in a U.S. airport. The Transportation Security Administration received authorization last Sunday to enact fines.
But that’s just the beginning. The agency may seek amounts higher than the suggested ranges, based on “substantial aggravating or mitigating factors,” the agency wrote. In other words, the fine for not wearing a mask could be many times the value of the ticket for a flight.
As of Feb. 1, the Biden Administration has ordered travelers to wear face masks while in airports, bus stations, and rail depots, as well as while they are passengers on aircraft, public transportation, buses, railroad cars, and while at other transportation hubs.
Last week, TSA began requiring masks at airport screening checkpoints, a requirement that will remain in place until May 11, unless extended by the Biden Administration.
“Passengers without a mask may be denied entry, boarding, or continued transport. Failure to comply with the mask requirement can result in civil penalties,” TSA wrote.
“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,” TSA wrote.
Face shields are not acceptable, TSA says: “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.”