In an effort to fight COVID-19, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will double fines for travelers who refuse to wear a mask, President Joe Biden announced Thursday. The mask mandate, currently in effect until January 18th, 2022, aims to limit the spread of COVID-19 on public transportation, including aboard buses, trains, commercial aircraft and in airports.
Travelers who refuse to mask up in airports or onboard aircraft can now expect to pay an initial fine between $500 and $1,000 for first offenders. The TSA fines increase as the entire continental United States displays high community transmission of COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The mask mandate, extended multiple times since its January 31, 2021 inception, is part of a nationwide effort to curb the SARS-CoV-2 (Coronavirus) pandemic. Due to difficulties maintaining the CDC recommended 6 feet of social distancing, public transit has become a focus of many governmental agencies in the fight against COVID-19.