- Wearing a mask is now mandated for anyone on public transit in the US.
- If you violate the order, the TSA said people will be subject to fines ranging from $250 to $1,500.
- With more contagious COVID-19 strains in the US, Dr. Fauci recently recommended people wear two face masks.
Upon assuming the presidency, Joe Biden wasted no time issuing a slew of far-ranging executive orders. To date, Biden has issued 36 executive orders in total, a figure that’s more than double what both Donald Trump and Barack Obama issued at the same point during their respective presidencies.
Not surprisingly, a number of Biden’s executive orders focus on combatting the coronavirus and providing relief to Americans who have been impacted by it. One such order issued a few weeks ago mandates that anyone traveling on public transport — which includes planes, busses, trains, and ferries — has to wear a mask.
If for some reason you opt to disregard the order and not wear a mask, you won’t be hauled off to jail as some fringe conspiracy theorists would have you believe. Still, you’ll probably be kicked off whatever form of transportation you’re on. Further, you might also be subject to a fine.
As to how much you could get fined for violating the executive order above, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) notes that it will fine people $250 for their first offense and up to $1,5000 for subsequent offenses.
Based on substantial aggravating or mitigating factors, TSA may seek a sanction amount that falls outside these ranges. 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.
Speaking to the executive order and the agency’s enforcement measures, TSA Administrator Darby LaJoye said it “will help prevent further spread of COVID-19 and encourage a unified government response.”
One can only hope that most people at this point — nearly a year into the pandemic — don’t need the threat of getting fined as an encouragement to don a mask. After all, the science is clear: wearing masks can drastically reduce the spread of COVID-19.
To this point, former CDC director Robert Redfield back in September said the following during an appearance before the Senate Appropriations Committee:
“We have clear scientific evidence they work,” Redfield said. “This face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against COVID19 than when I take a COVID vaccine. These face masks are the most powerful public health tool we have. I appeal to all Americans to embrace these face coverings.”
Incidentally, the CDC in late January implemented a rule that now requires anyone flying into the US to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test before being allowed to board their departing flight.
To date, the US has seen more than 27 million coronavirus cases and nearly 464,000 associated deaths. The good news, though, is that the coronavirus infection rate is down 31% over the last two weeks. This, coupled with a vaccination rate of 1.46 million doses per day, will hopefully see life in the US return to a semblance of normalcy by summer.