AUSTIN, Texas - TSA will begin to require travelers to wear face masks at security checkpoints and throughout the transportation area. This will be implemented for all passengers over the age of 2-years-old.
"This is not punitive. We're trying to work with the community. This is something that is good for all of us," said Patricia Mancha, Media Spokesperson for TSA of Texas.
Starting February 2nd, TSA will implement President Joe Biden’s Executive Order regarding facemasks at airport security checkpoints around the country. "With this executive order. What happens is that if someone refuses to wear a mask, when they are at the checkpoint, they will not be allowed to go through the security process and onto their flight," said Mancha.
Passengers will now be mandated to wear their masks at the airport, bus, and rail stations. "The difference here is that everyone is required to wear a mask," said Mancha. "So previously, if someone chose not to wear a mask, they would still be allowed to enter through security."
There are exemptions to this. Travelers under the age of 2 and those with a disability will not be affected by this new rule.
"We're not here to try to make anyone's life difficult. What we're all trying to do is work together with the traveling public with our employees, and with the general US citizenry to make sure that we all follow the guidelines from the CDC, and hopefully help eradicate this virus," said Macha.
Depending on the situation, those who refuse to comply with the mask mandate could face a civil penalty. "The whole purpose of this mask mandate is to promote COVID-19 safety and all of us doing our part is going to make the big difference," said Mancha.