Heads up--the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has begun implementing aspects of a President Biden executive order from January. The TSA mask mandate expands on the order that requires travelers to wear masks in places of public transportation. Places of public transportation include airports, bus stations, ferry stations, train stations. The order is also in effect while flying in commercial airplanes or riding in public buses, ferries, and trains.
TSA Mask Mandate Increases Authority
Previously, while the TSA strongly advised people to wear masks while in places of public transportation, it did not have the "bite" to go along with the "bark". With the executive order, all of that changed. The order is currently in effect and is set to remain in effect until May 11, 2021.
Now, not only can the TSA require travelers to leave a facility, be denied boarding, or be removed from planes, trains, buses, or ferries, it is recommending fines. Fines start at $250 for first time offenders, and can reach up to $1500 for habitual offenders. The higher penalties can also come as a result of "aggravating" behavior from those refusing to abide to the TSA mask mandate.
As with many of our country's hot topics right now, there are differing opinions on the TSA mask mandate. Some welcome the mandate with open arms and are looking forward to an enforceable policy. Others feel mandatory masks are a violation of their freedom.
Regardless of personal opinion, the fact is that the order is becoming a reality. Of course, you do have the freedom to refuse to wear a mask. You just might miss your flight as a result. And I suppose you better have a little extra cushion in the savings account to take care of that $1500 fine.
It will be interesting to see what steps are taken next as a result of the executive order. What will the mandatory quarantine lengths be? Will there be more restrictions to domestic travel? What will proof of vaccination look like? Stay tuned.