Transportation mask scofflaws to face increased fines

Sept. 10, 2021
Fines will double on Sept. 10 for individuals who are not compliant with the requirement to properly wear a face covering while in airports, aircraft and various surface transportation modes.

President Joe Biden directed the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to double fines on travelers who refuse to wear face coverings. In an address outlining his plan to combat the spread of COVID-19, President Biden issued a warning to those who flout the law, “If you break the rules, be prepared to pay.”

Starting Friday, Sept. 10, TSA will fine first offenders between $500 and $1,000 and second offenders between $1,000 and $3,000 if not in compliance with wearing a mask in airports, on commercial aircraft and modes of surface transportation including passenger railroads, intercity bus services and public transportation.

“Wearing a mask protects the traveling public and all of the personnel who make the travel experience safe, secure and comfortable,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “We will continue to enforce the mask mandate as long as necessary to protect public health and safety.”

The requirement to wear masks on transportation modes originally went into effect on Feb. 2, 2021, and was recently extended until Jan. 18, 2022.

“We appreciate the majority of travelers each day who voluntarily follow the requirement, but find this action necessary to maximize the protections for those who use and work within the transportation system, and to contain COVID-19,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. “By doubling the range of penalties, we seek to reinforce the importance of voluntary adherence.”

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.