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Where EAST meets the Northwest


MASK EXTENSION. Advisory signs about face masks and social-distancing are seen at Gate 41 of Terminal 4 of the Los Angeles International Airport on April 9, 2021 in Los Angeles. The Transportation Security Administration has extended its mask requirement, which applies to airports, train stations, busses, and other modes of transportation, through September 13. (Kirby Lee via AP)

From The Asian Reporter, V31, #5 (May 3, 2021), page 17.

U.S. extends face-mask requirement on planes until September 13

WASHINGTON (AP) ó If youíre travelling on a plane, train, or bus, donít put that face mask away yet.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has extended its mask requirement, which also applies in airports and train stations, through September 13. The rule took effect February 1 and was set to expire May 11.

The agency said that children up to age two and people with certain disabilities will continue to be exempted from the mask rule.

Violations can carry fines of up to $1,500 for repeat offenders.

Separately, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said it will continue its zero-tolerance policy against disruptive airline passengers as long as the TSA mask rule is in effect. The FAA is seeking much larger civil penalties ó some topping $30,000 ó against a small number of passengers that it accuses of interfering with airline crews.

TSA officials said the mask rule matches health guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC recently said that fully vaccinated people can travel safely, but it still recommends that they wear masks and maintain distance from other people. About 100 million Americans, roughly half the nationís adults, have been fully immunized against COVID-19.

Airlines and their unions had pushed for an extension of the federal mask rule as a stronger alternative to airline-imposed rules.

"Continuing the TSA enforcement directive for the CDC transportation mask mandate will keep passengers and aviation workers safe," said Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants.

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