TSA enforcing face masks for all public transportation passengers until May

Some travelers may be exempt from wearing a mask

Arriving passengers walk past a sign in the arrivals area at Heathrow Airport in London, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, during England's third national lockdown since the coronavirus outbreak began. The British government are on Tuesday expected to discuss whether to force some travellers arriving in the UK to quarantine in hotels to try to curb the spread of coronavirus. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Arriving passengers walk past a sign in the arrivals area at Heathrow Airport in London, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, during England's third national lockdown since the coronavirus outbreak began. The British government are on Tuesday expected to discuss whether to force some travellers arriving in the UK to quarantine in hotels to try to curb the spread of coronavirus. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has implemented a new policy regarding the use of face masks.

Starting Tuesday all travelers are required to wear face masks while in airports, bus and rail stations, as well as while on passenger aircraft, public transportation, passenger railroads, and over-the-road buses operating on scheduled fixed-routes.

The requirement is expected to remain in effect until May 11, according to TSA officials.

There are a few exemptions to the rule, however, TSA said the following travelers will not be required to wear masks:

  • Children under the age of 2
  • People with a disability who cannot wear a mask, or cannot safely wear a mask because of the disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act
  • People for whom a mask would create a risk to workplace health, safety, or job duty as determined by relevant workplace safety guidelines or federal regulations

TSA is implementing the new mask mandate in support of President Biden’s Executive Order on Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel, a news release states.

“TSA will fully comply with the President’s Executive Orders, CDC guidance and the DHS National Emergency determination to ensure healthy and secure travel across all transportation sectors. This will help prevent further spread of COVID-19 and encourage a unified government response,” said Senior Official Performing the Duties of the TSA Administrator Darby LaJoye.

Visit TSA.gov for more information about face mask requirements.

If you or someone you’re traveling with has a disability, medical condition or other special circumstance or requires assistance at the airport, call (855) 787-2227 about 72 hours prior to traveling with any questions about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the security checkpoint.


About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.