Those who break the mask mandate could face a penalty of up to $1,500

By Glenn Garner
May 01, 2021 01:30 PM
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As travelers dust off their carry-ons and treat their long-unaddressed wanderlust this summer, safety will still be taken into account.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) extended its face mask mandate on Friday, requiring the PPE to be worn in airports, bus stations and train stations, as well as on corresponding travel, until Sept. 13. The mandate originally went into effect on Feb. 1, with an expiration date of May 11.

While the requirement has been extended, those who break the mandate could still face a penalty of up to $1,500. Travelers under 2 years old and those with disabilities will still be exempt from the mandate.

"The federal mask requirement throughout the transportation system seeks to minimize the spread of COVID-19 on public transportation," said Darby LaJoye, the senior official performing the duties of the TSA administrator, in a statement.

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"Right now, about half of all adults have at least one vaccination shot and masks remain an important tool in defeating this pandemic," LaJoye added. "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."

Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently cleared fully vaccinated people to travel safely within the United States, officials still recommend face masks, hand washing and social distancing. The TSA's statement also notes that their latest mandate extension "is consistent with this most recent CDC guidance."

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Meanwhile, the European Union is preparing to welcome travelers from the U.S. this summer, as a growing list of other countries work on reviving the tourism industry.

The E.U. has begun issuing "digital green certificates" to serve as proof of vaccination status for travelers, and public health experts in the U.S. have recommended people hold on to their paper vaccination cards for the same purpose.

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