- The TSA on Friday extended its mask mandate until September 13.
- Masks “remain an important tool in defeating this pandemic,” said Darby LaJoye, a TSA official.
- First-time violations will still carry $250 fines.
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The TSA on Friday extended its requirement that travelers wear masks in airports and on commercial flights until September 13.
“The federal mask requirement throughout the transportation system seeks to minimize the spread of COVID-19 on public transportation,” said Darby LaJoye, a senior official performing the duties of the TSA Administrator, in a statement.
The mandate had been set to expire on May 11. It requires most travelers over the age of two to wear masks aboard flights, trains, or buses. It includes time spent in transit hubs, train stations, and airports.
The extension came as US and state officials inched toward wider reopenings, as more people were fully vaccinated. President Joe Biden hit and raised his administration’s goal of issuing 100 million vaccines in his first 100 days in office. He raised it to 200 million shots, a goal he also hit.
The TSA on Friday said wearing masks while travelling was still effective in stopping the spread of COVID-19.
LaJoye said: “Right now, about half of all adults have at least one vaccination shot and masks remain an important tool in defeating this pandemic.”
First-time violations will still carry fines of $250, which then jump as high as $1,500 for repeat offenders, the TSA said.
Travelers who have refused to wear masks have been kicked off flights, sometimes accompanied by cheers from other passengers. Last month, Alaska Airlines said it banned a GOP state senator in Alaska after she refused to comply with mask requirements.