TSA to require travelers to wear face masks in airports, public transportation beginning Feb. 2

Washington-DC

TSA officers wear protective masks at a security screening area at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Monday, May 18, 2020, in SeaTac, Wash. Airlines say they are stepping up security on flights to Washington before next week’s inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. Delta, United and Alaska airlines said Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021 they will bar passengers flying to Washington from putting guns in checked bags. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

WASHINGTON (WAVY) — The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced that passengers at airports and on public transportation will be required to wear a face mask.

Starting on Feb. 2, TSA will require individuals to wear a mask at airport screening checkpoints and throughout the commercial and public transportation systems. This requirement will remain effective until May 11.

Passengers without a mask may be denied entry, boarding, or continued transport. Failure to comply with the mask requirement can result in civil penalties, accoring to a statement released Sunday.

The move comes in an effort to implement provisions of President Biden’s Executive Order on Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel.

“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. This will help prevent further spread of COVID-19 and encourage a unified government response,” said Darby LaJoye, Senior Official Performing the Duties of the TSA Administrator.

“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 requirement will be implemented for travelers in:

  • Airports
  • Bus and rail stations
  • On passenger aircraft
  • Public transportation
  • Passenger railroads
  • Over-the-road buses operating on scheduled fixed-routes

TSA’s action will also support the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Emergency Order requiring that individuals wear masks on conveyances and at stations, ports, or similar transportation hubs. 

The federal face mask requirement extends to the nation’s domestic network of airports; passengers and crewmembers 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.

TSA officials say that 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.

Click here for more information about TSA face mask requirements.

All commuters and airline travelers, including persons considering international travel, should first check the CDC website prior to taking their trip.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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