Airport TSA agents can now deny entry to travelers who aren’t wearing masks, with President Joe Biden’s executive order requiring face coverings on public transportation going into effect Tuesday.
“Starting today, air travelers without a mask may be denied entry through the TSA checkpoint, boarding the aircraft or continued transport,” TSA rep Lisa Farbstein said on Twitter early Tuesday.
“Failure to comply with the mask requirement can also result in civil penalties,” Farbstein said.
Travelers over 2 years old must now wear their face coverings at all times, with the exception of temporary removal for ID verification, and briefly eating, drinking, or taking oral medications, the TSA said.
President Biden’s Jan. 21 executive order empowered federal health officials to “immediately take action” to require masks in airports and on commercial aircraft, trains and public maritime vessels, including ferries, intercity bus services and all public transportation.
Major airlines have required masks for months amid the ongoing spread of COVID-19. Carriers have barred “thousands of passengers” from future flights for failing to comply with airline mask policies.
Airport volume is down significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic.