May 3, 2021 -- The Transportation Safety Administration has extended its face mask mandate for all commuters and travelers another four months to September 13.
The requirement had been scheduled to expire May 11. It went into effect Feb. 2, 2021, and covers “all transportation networks throughout the United States,” including airports and commercial aircraft and bus and rail systems (both national and commuter), the agency said in a news release.
The TSA acknowledged that the U.S. vaccination campaign is making travel safer but said the face mask rule is still needed.
“Right now, about half of all adults have at least one vaccination shot and masks remain an important tool in defeating this pandemic,” Darby LaJoye, the Senior Official Performing the Duties of the TSA Administrator, said in the release. “We will continue to work closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to evaluate the need for these directives and recognize the significant level of compliance thus far.”
The CDC recently said that fully vaccinated people can travel safely if they follow safety measures, such as wearing face masks.
The TSA said enforcement of the face mask requirement will not change. First time offenders can be fined $250 and repeat offenders up to $1,500. Travelers going through airport checkpoints will be asked to lower their masks briefly so the TSA employee can confirm their identity.
People are not required to wear masks in private vehicles.