The Transportation Security Administration is extending its facemask requirement for individuals using all U.S. transportation – including at airports, onboard commercial aircraft, on over-the-road buses, as well as commuter bus and rail systems – through September 13.
[Above photo by the TSA]
TSA added that its initial facemask requirement went into effect on February 1 with an expiration date of May 11.
“The federal mask requirement throughout the transportation system seeks to minimize the spread of COVID-19 on public transportation,” explained Darby LaJoye – TSA’s executive assistant administrator for security operations and interim administrator for the agency – in a statement.
“Right now, about half of all adults have at least one vaccination shot and masks remain an important tool in defeating this pandemic,” LaJoye said. “We will continue to work closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to evaluate the need for these directives and recognize the significant level of compliance thus far.”
The CDC recently announced that fully vaccinated travelers with a Food and Drug Administration-authorized vaccine can travel safely within the United States, but the CDC guidelines still require individuals to wear a facemask, socially distance, and wash their hands or use hand sanitizer.
TSA is also encouraging all commuters, and airline and bus travelers, including people considering international travel, to stay up to date with any changes to these requirements by checking the TSA and CDC websites prior to taking a trip.
While this announcement extends the date of enforcement, all other aspects of the requirement remain unchanged, including exemptions and civil penalties. Exemptions to the facemask requirement for travelers under the age of two years old and those with certain disabilities will continue.
The existing civil penalty fine structure will also remain in place, which starts at $250 and rises to $1,500 for repeat offenders who violate this facemask requirement.