Travelers who refuse to wear masks on flights will face double fines, announced President Joe Biden and the Transportation Security Administration. This new measure was created in an effort to crack down on those who don’t follow preexisting regulations and was implemented on September 10th, 2021, according to a TSA release.
First time offenders will have to pay a fine ranging from $500 to $1000. Second time offenses will be charged between $1000 and $3000.
The announcement is part of the White House’s action plan to halt the spread of COVID-19. Mask mandates on flights have also been extended to January 2022. Strengthening those mandates across the country, as well as making COVID-19 testing more accessible, are part of the White House’s plan to stop the virus from spreading.
This announcement also comes as incidents between unruly passengers and flight attendants are on the rise. Over 70% of incidents on airplanes this year were caused by passengers refusing to comply with the federal mask mandate, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. Since the beginning of the year, over a million dollars of fines have been issued by the FAA.
Since February 2021, the T.S.A has received over 4,000 reports of “mask related incidents” according to The New York Times.
“We’re concerned every single day when we go to work and put that uniform on, are we the target and going to be punched in the face today,” said Sara Nelson, the international president of the Association of Flight Attendants, to CNBC.
“If you break the rules, be prepared to pay,” said President Joe Biden on September 9. “And by the way, show some respect. The anger you see on television toward flight attendants and others doing their job is wrong, it’s ugly.”
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