You can now be fined up to $1,500 for not wearing face masks in airports

Fines aimed at enforcing President Biden’s executive order on COVID-19 travel safety

TSA officers wear protective masks at a security screening area at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Monday, May 18, 2020, in SeaTac, Wash. Airlines say they are stepping up security on flights to Washington before next weeks inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. Delta, United and Alaska airlines said Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021 they will bar passengers flying to Washington from putting guns in checked bags. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

ORLANDO, Fla. – If you have any upcoming travel plans, you better make sure you pack a face covering. Otherwise, it could cost you -- and we don’t just mean your health.

The Transportation Security Administration has announced plans to fine travelers in airports and other places of public transportation up to $1,500 if they’re caught not wearing a mask.

“Regarding the civil penalty fine structure for individuals who violate the Security Directive, TSA will recommend a fine ranging from $250 for the first offense up to $1,500 for repeat offenders. Based on substantial aggravating or mitigating factors, TSA may seek a sanction amount that falls outside these ranges,” TSA officials wrote in their updated mask policy.

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The change comes after President Joe Biden signed an executive order promoting COVID-19 safety in domestic and international travel.

So where exactly are you required to wear a mask?

As of Feb. 2, TSA is requiring “all passengers who appear to be over the age of 2″ to wear a mask at TSA airport checkpoints and throughout commercial and public transportation systems.

“The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will implement provisions of President Biden’s Executive Order on Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel by requiring travelers to wear face masks when they are in airports, bus and rail stations, as well as while on passenger aircraft, public transportation, passenger railroads, and over-the-road buses operating on scheduled fixed-routes,” the agency’s website reads. “TSA’s action will also support the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Emergency Order requiring that individuals wear masks on conveyances and at stations, ports, or similar transportation hubs.”

The mandate is expected to remain in effect until May 11, according to the TSA website.

In accordance with the CDC’s order, TSA officials say masks must cover the nose and mouth and fit snugly against the sides without gaps. Face shields are not an acceptable substitute for masks, according to the TSA, but may be used in addition to them.

Click here for more guidance on face covering requirements during travel.

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