TSA enforcing nationwide mask requirement for travelers

U.S. and World

FILE – A traveler wears a mask as she waits for her flight in Terminal 3 at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. The coronavirus pandemic created winners and losers in the business world. Wall Street recovered after March, even though Main Street is still struggling. As few people traveled, the airline industry needed billions of dollars in aid from the government and is still threatening to lay off workers.(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

WASHINGTON (WRIC) — Travelers in airports and bus and rail stations will be required to wear face masks, starting Feb. 2, with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) implementing provisions of President Joe Biden’s Executive Order.

The Executive Order, signed Jan. 21, requires mask-wearing on all public transportation, including passenger aircrafts, railroads, ferries, and buses.

According to a Monday release, TSA’s action will also support the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Emergency Order mandating face coverings on conveyances and at stations, ports, or similar transportation hubs.

TSA officials say their officers will require individuals to wear a mask at TSA airport screening checkpoints and throughout the commercial and public transportation systems. According to a release, this requirement will remain in effect until May 11, 2021.

“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,” Senior Official Performing the Duties of the TSA Administrator Darby LaJoye said. “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.”

Authorities say that passengers without a mask may be denied entry to airplanes, trains, buses, and even U.S. ports of entry. Failure to comply with the mask requirement can result in civil penalties.

According to the CDC order, face shields or goggles are not an acceptable substitute for the use of a mask.

This applies to travelers over the age of 2.

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