(10 Sep 2021) The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced on Thursday that it will increase the range of civil penalties that can be imposed on individuals who violate the federal mask mandate at airports, on commercial aircraft, and in various modes of surface transportation, including passenger railroads, intercity bus services, and other public transportation.
The federal mask mandate for transportation, which was implemented by the TSA on 2 February 2021, will remain in effect until 18 January 2022.
We welcome @POTUS’s announcement today that increases @TSA fines because masks help prevent the spread of COVID-19. When passengers interfere w/flight crews enforcing the mask mandate, the FAA will continue to use its full statutory authority to levy fines to match the behavior. pic.twitter.com/mTCaeQBPq6
— FAA Steve Dickson (@FAA_Steve) September 9, 2021
“Wearing a mask protects the traveling public and all of the personnel who make the travel experience safe, secure, and comfortable,” said Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “We will continue to enforce the mask mandate as long as necessary to protect public health and safety.”
The new range of penalties, which came into effect today, 10 September 2021, will be $500-$1000 for first offenders and $1000-$3000 for second offenders.
“We appreciate the majority of travelers each day who voluntarily follow the requirement, but find this action necessary to maximize the protections for those who use and work within the transportation system, and to contain COVID19,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. “By doubling the range of penalties, we seek to reinforce the importance of voluntary adherence.”
The federal mask mandate-related civil penalties are separate from the civil penalties the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issues for individuals who engage in unruly and unsafe behavior.
“If you break the rules, be prepared to pay,” said President Biden on Thursday. “And by the way, show some respect. The anger you see on television towards flight attendants and others doing their job is wrong, it’s ugly.”