The Transportation Security Administration announced it will bump the possible fines to $500 to $1,000 for a first offense. Repeat offenders could face up to $3,000 in penalties.
“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,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said in a statement. A TSA spokesperson said that since Feb. 2, 2021, the administration has sent out nearly 4,000 warnings and referred 126 people for civil penalties.
“I think they should do that, because people can’t get away with this kind of stuff,” traveler Arlene Yanda said. “They need to follow the rules. That’s what they’re made for.” The TSA noted the civil penalties would be in addition to other penalties enforced by the Federal Aviation Administration for unruly or unsafe behavior.
President Biden spoke out to condemn those who don’t wear masks. “If you break the rules, be prepared to pay,” Biden said in a speech. “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.”