The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has announced it is extending its face mask requirement for airports, planes, buses and trains through 13 September.
This order originally took effect in February to help curb the spread of COVID-19. It was set to expire on 11 May but has now been extended. The extension will apply to all travelers over the age of two, although there are exemptions for those with certain disabilities. There are acrylic barriers in place at TSA checkpoints, and new credential authentication technology and computed tomography equipment have been implemented at hundreds of checkpoints to reduce the need for physical contact between officers and the traveling public.
There are acrylic barriers in place at TSA checkpoints © George Frey/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Screening officers will request that travelers temporarily lower their face mask to verify their identity. Those who refuse to wear a face mask will not be permitted to enter the secure area of the airport, which includes the terminal and gate area. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also recently announced that fully-vaccinated people can travel safely within the US, but must wear a face mask, socially distance and wash their hands or use hand sanitizer. They no longer need to wear a mask outdoors when dining out, hiking, biking or jogging, except in “certain crowded settings and venues.”
“The federal mask requirement throughout the transportation system seeks to minimize the spread of COVID-19 on public transportation,” says TSA official, Darby LaJoye. “Right now, about half of all adults have at least one vaccination shot and masks remain an important tool in defeating this pandemic. We will continue to work closely with the CDC to evaluate the need for these directives and recognize the significant level of compliance thus far.”
Travelers should be aware that there are financial penalties in place for those who violate the face mask requirement. For further information about the security directives, please visit the TSA’s website.
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