New Executive Order Requires All Travelers to Wear Masks
Masks have been a contentious issue, especially on flights. But wearing a face mask will soon be federally mandated for interstate travelers in the United States, according to an executive order signed by President Biden. The travel order not only to planes and airports, but also trains, buses, ferries, and public transportation. The order is a directive to several agencies to take action to require masks be worn in compliance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. It is not clear yet how the requirement will be implemented.
Airlines and their employees have been seeking such a federal mask mandate almost since the pandemic began. They have struggled to deal with passengers who refuse to follow the airlines’ mask rules. And without a federal mandate, it was up to airline staff to enforce the rules. This has resulted in several viral videos of incidents witnessed on different flights.
The U.S. Department of Transportation has received more than 150 safety complaints over passengers violating airline mask requirements. Airlines have also banned thousands of passengers from flying with them again for refusing to wear masks, NPR reports.
Earlier this month, the Federal Aviation Administration announced a stricter stance with unruly passengers. Passengers who assault, threaten, intimidate or interfere with airline crew members can face fines of as much as $35,000 and even imprisonment, according to the FAA.
In addition to signing the mask mandate, the new administration is requiring international travelers coming into the U.S. to follow self quarantining guidelines upon arrival. That’s in addition to the required negative Covid-19 test that goes into effect Tuesday.