TSA extends mask mandate on planes to September

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A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agent wearing a protective face mask and sitting behind a barrier checks the identification of a traveler at the security screening center in Salt Lake City, Utah on October 8, 2020. (Photo by Daniel SLIM / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL SLIM/AFP via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — The Biden administration said on Friday it is extending face mask requirements across all U.S. transportation networks to address the spread of COVID-19.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) requirements that took effect on Feb. 1 were set to expire on May 11. They cover workers and travelers at airports, on board commercial aircraft, over-the-road buses, and on commuter bus and rail systems through Sept. 13.

TSA said children up to 2 and people with certain disabilities will continue to be exempted from the rule.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued the federal mask mandate in nearly all transportation modes in late January, including on ride-share vehicles. The order does not apply to private cars or commercial trucks being driven by a sole operator.

TSA told Reuters that since the transit mask requirements took effect Feb. 1 they have “largely experienced voluntary compliance.”

“Transportation system operators have reported almost 2,000 passengers for refusing to wear a face mask. TSA will assess a civil penalty if necessary,” said the TSA.

In March, the head of the Federal Aviation Administration indefinitely extended a “zero-tolerance policy” on unruly air passengers first imposed in January, after hundreds of reported incidents.

FAA Administrator Steve Dickson extended the policy set to expire March 30, “as we continue to do everything we can to confront the pandemic.” The FAA said the extension will last at least as long as the federal transportation face mask order remains in effect.

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