TSA doubles fines for refusing to wear a mask on an airplane

September 10, 2021, 2:49 PM UTC

Refusing to wear a mask on an airplane is about to cost a lot more.

The Transportation Security Administration has doubled the financial penalties for people who do not comply with mask orders on commercial aircraft, in airports, and on other forms of public transportation.

If it’s your first time being cited, you’re now looking at penalties ranging from $500 to $1,000, a steep escalation from the $250 you’ve had to pay previously. Repeat offenders will face fines of between $1,000 and $3,000. The new fine structure goes into effect today.

“We appreciate the majority of travelers each day who voluntarily follow the requirement, but find this action necessary to maximize the protections for those who use and work within the transportation system, and to contain COVID-19,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske in a statement. “By doubling the range of penalties, we seek to reinforce the importance of voluntary adherence.”

The mandate, which had been set to expire Monday, has also been extended through Jan. 18, 2022. It hasn’t been met well in some circles. Over 3,000 unruly passenger reports this year—three-quarters of the total logged—involved mask wearing. One particularly stringent opponent is facing a fine of $32,750.

The announcement was made in conjunction with President Biden’s sweeping vaccine mandate Thursday, which laid out strict new rules for large employers, hospital employees, and federal workers. The Labor Department will require all businesses with 100 or more employees ensure their workers are either vaccinated or tested once a week. Companies could face thousands of dollars in fines per employee if they don’t comply.

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