Face mask requirement for planes, buses and trains extended through mid-September

Face mask requirement for planes, buses and trains extended through mid-September

The passengers, almost all wearing face masks, board an American Airlines flight to Charlotte on May 3, 2020, in New York City.

Eleonore Sens | AFP | Getty Images

Are you traveling this summer? Don’t forget your mask.

The Transportation Security Administration on Friday extended a federal requirement that travelers on buses, trains, commercial flights and airports wear face masks. The requirement was set to expire on May 11 and will now be in effect until September 13.

The agency began requiring people over the age of 2 to wear masks during flights, buses, trains and public transport in February following a order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There are exemptions for certain disabilities, the TSA said. Fines for refusing to follow the rules start at $ 250 and go up to $ 1,500 for repeated violations.

Airlines demanded passengers wear masks for much of the past year, as Covid-19 continued to spread, but unions pushed the Biden administration for a federal mask mandate to support cabin crews tasked with enforcing the rules. Carriers have banned more than 2,000 passengers for failing to meet mask requirements.

Airlines for America, an industry group that represents most of the major US carriers, applauded the extension of the mask requirement and said that “the federal mandate for facial coverage has significantly enhanced the ability of our flight crews to do so. meet these requirements on board. “

The Federal Aviation Administration unveiled in January a “zero tolerance“policy for unruly travelers after a peak of incidents, many of them involving travelers who refused to wear masks.

“Respect for masks is key to building confidence in air travel as we move towards recovery, which includes international travel,” Sara Nelson, international president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, the union that represents cabin crews to United, Mind and more than a dozen airlines, said in a statement after the decision.

“We also have a responsibility to ensure that aviation does not contribute to the spread of the virus or its variants. We commend Administrator Pekoske and the Biden administration for taking steps that ensure we can build back better.” said Nelson.

About half of American adults are at least partially vaccinated, according to federal data. Airlines executives have reported an increase in bookings since the rollout of vaccines and the reopening of more tourist attractions.

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