Masks to be Required for Commercial Air Travel Through September

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is extending the face mask requirement for individuals across all transportation networks throughout the United States, including at airports, onboard commercial aircraft, on over-the-road buses, and on commuter bus and rail systems through September 13.

We broke down some of the common questions surrounding this announcement to help keep us all on the same page during this constantly evolving travel landscape.

Why did TSA extend the face mask requirement?

Darby LaJoye, Senior Official Performing the Duties of the TSA Administrator stated, “The federal mask requirement throughout the transportation system seeks to minimize the spread of COVID-19 on public transportation. Right now, about half of all adults have at least one vaccination shot and masks remain an important tool in defeating this pandemic. 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 extension of the face mask requirement is consistent with this most recent CDC guidance. TSA encourages all commuters, and airline and bus travelers, including people considering international travel, to stay up to date with any changes to these requirements by checking the TSA and CDC websites prior to taking their trip.

What can travelers expect while going through security at ITH?

At Ithaca Tompkins Intl. Airport’s TSA checkpoint, travelers will continue to see all security screening officers wearing face masks and gloves, and acrylic barriers remain in place.

The TSA screening officer at the travel document checker (TDC) station will request that travelers temporarily lower their face mask to verify their identity. Those who approach the TDC without a face mask will be asked to obtain one to proceed.

One hand sanitizer container up to 12 oz. per person continues to be temporarily allowed in carry-on bags while all other liquid, gels, and aerosols must meet the 3-1-1 rule.

Are there any exemptions to the face mask requirement?

Yes, exemptions to the face mask requirement for travelers under the age of 2 years old and those with certain disabilities will continue.

What happens if travelers refuse to comply with the requirement?

Passengers who refuse to wear a face mask will not be permitted to enter the secure area of the airport, which includes the terminal and gate area. The existing civil penalty fine structure will also remain in place which starts at $250 and rises to $1,500 for repeat offenders who violate this face mask requirement.

For additional information about TSA procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic as part of their “Stay Healthy. Stay Secure.” public awareness campaign, visit tsa.gov/coronavirus.

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