TSA extends mask mandate for mass transportation

(WHDH) — The Transportation Security Administration has extended its face mask requirement at transportation hubs like airports and on airplanes, buses, trains and ferries, federal officials announced Friday.

The TSA’s initial face mask requirement went into effect on Feb. 1 and it was set to expire on May 11 but federal officials opted to extend the mandate through Sept. 13.

“The federal mask requirement throughout the transportation system seeks to minimize the spread of COVID-19 on public transportation,” said Darby LaJoye, the Senior Official Performing the Duties of the TSA Administrator. “Right now, about half of all adults have at least one vaccination shot and masks remain an important tool in defeating this pandemic. 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 an FDA-authorized vaccine can travel safely within the United States, but the CDC guidelines still require individuals to wear a face mask, socially distance, and wash their hands or use hand sanitizer. The extension of the face mask requirement is also consistent with this most recent CDC guidance.

Exemptions to the face mask requirement that apply to travelers under the age of 2 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 face mask requirement.

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