Violators of the U.S. Federal Face Mask Mandate Could Face Fines of $250-$1500, which are to be enforced by the TSA. The $250 fine would be for the first offense, with higher fines, up to $1500, for repeat offenders. The amounts could be adjusted up or down “based on substantial aggravating or mitigating factors” per the TSA update.
While TSA staff will enforce the new federal mandate, airline crew, train and bus staff, and other public transportation employees can report violators to the TSA.
Per the CDC, face masks must:
- Completely cover the nose and mouth
- Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
- If cloth, be made with two or more layers of a breathable fabric that is tightly woven (i.e., opaque when held up to a light source)
- Be secured to the head with ties, ear loops, or elastic bands that go behind the head
- Not have any slits, exhalation valves, or punctures
Transportation operators, such as airlines, are also able to impose their own penalties: to date, roughly 4000 passengers have been banned by airlines who have refused to wear face masks or to wear them properly, ~1000 by Delta Airlines alone. Amtrak also has had a face mask requirement since May 2020, removes violators at the next stop, and sometimes turns over violators to local law enforcement.
TSA screeners have often tested positive for COVID-19; over 6400 across the U.S. have tested positive, over 400 of them at Los Angeles LAX, and over 280 of them at Miami MIA, as well as at New York JFK.
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