The Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration has increased the penalties which can be imposed on travellers if they fail to wear face masks when required.

The TSA said that it had increased “the range of civil penalties that may be imposed on individuals who violate the federal mask mandate at airports, on commercial aircraft, and in various modes of surface transportation, including passenger railroads, intercity bus services, and other public transportation”.

The rules – which are currently set to remain in effect until January 18, 2022 – mean travellers can be fined between $500 and $1,000 for a first offence, and between $1,000 and $3,000 for a second offence. The new penalties are double the previous levels.

The TSA said it would provide updated signage at airports regarding the increased fines – more information on federal face mask requirements and the TSA’s response to Covid-19 can be seen here.

Commenting on the news, TSA Administrator David Pekoske said:

“We appreciate the majority of travellers 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.

“By doubling the range of penalties, we seek to reinforce the importance of voluntary adherence.”