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US transportation mask rule violation to attract penalty of up to $1,500

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The penalty structure was announced days after the US CDC issued a sweeping order requiring the use of face masks on nearly all forms of public transportation.

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Kunal Gaurav, New Delhi

PUBLISHED ON FEB 05, 2021 09:27 PM IST

The US transportation security administration (TSA) on Friday announced that the violation of transportation face mask requirement will attract a penalty of $250. The agency said that the fine can increase up to $1,500 for repeat offenders. The penalty structure was announced days after the US centers for disease control and prevention (CDC) issued a sweeping order requiring the use of face masks on nearly all forms of public transportation.

“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,” the TSA said in a statement.

The face mask rule issued by CDC came into force on Tuesday under which passengers are required to wear a face mask in transportation hubs as well as on many commercial and public transportation networks. The rule extends to the domestic network of airports, flights operated by domestic and foreign air carriers with inbound flights to US ports of entry, and surface transportation modes like trains and buses.

Read | Is wearing one mask enough?

While US airlines have already taken the initiative to ban travellers who do not follow the face mask rule, the penalties by the TSA may be in addition to those imposed by transportation operators. The agency also said that it may seek a penalty amount that falls outside the $250-$1500 range, based on substantial aggravating or mitigating factor.

“TSA has provided transportation system operators specific guidance on how to report violations so that TSA may issue penalties to those who refuse to wear a face mask,” it added.

According to the CDC order, face masks should cover the nose and mouth and fit snugly against the sides without leaving any gap. It also states that face shields or goggles are not an acceptable substitute to a mask and may be used in addition to an acceptable mask. Medical masks and N-95 respirators fulfil CDC and TSA’s requirements.

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