TSA issues federal mask mandate for all airport security checkpoints

As part of President Joe Biden’s executive order on Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is requiring all passengers to wear a face covering at all “TSA airport screening checkpoints” from February 2, the TSA announced. The mask order will remain in place until May 11. The TSA noted in a statement: “The federal face mask requirement extends to the nation’s domestic network of airports; passengers and crew members flying aboard airplanes operated by domestic and foreign air carriers with inbound flights to U.S. ports of entry; and surface transportation modes, such as passenger rail, bus systems, and over-the-road bus companies.

“Passengers without a mask may be denied entry, boarding, or continued transport. Failure to comply with the mask requirement can result in civil penalties,” the statement added.
All travelers “who appear to be over the age of 2 must properly wear a face mask throughout the security screening process,” including at the Travel Document Checker (TDC) and bag screening points.

“The officer at the TDC will request that travelers temporarily lower the mask to verify their identity. Those who approach the TDC without a mask will be asked to wear or obtain one to proceed.

“Passengers who refuse to wear a mask will not be permitted to enter the secure area of the airport, which includes the terminal and gate area. Depending on the circumstance, those who refuse to wear a mask may be subject to a civil penalty for attempting to circumvent screening requirements, interfering with screening personnel, or a combination of those offenses,” the statement added. The latest mandate follows a mask order issued Friday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), making it a federal offense not to wear masks on public and commercial transport.