Biden Signs Executive Order Requiring Masks for Travelers
Masks have been a somewhat controversial issue on flights with several viral incidents. Here’s a brawl between passengers on a Spirit Airlines flight that had just landed in Puerto Rico in October of 2020.
President Biden has now signed an executive order , requiring passengers to wear face coverings during interstate travel. That covers not only air travel, but also trains, buses and ferries.
Airlines and their employees have been seeking such a federal mask mandate almost since the pandemic began. They were the ones who has to enforce the rules when passengers refuses to wear masks.
The U.S. Department of Transportation has received more than 150 safety complaints over passengers violating airline mask requirements, NPR reports. Airlines have banned thousands of passengers from flying with them again for refusing to wear masks. Delta just announced that will get tougher on unruly passengers, threating them with permanent bans.
“When the government establishes a requirement or a law, people listen,” says Taylor Garland, spokeswoman for the Association of Flight Attendants. “People will respond to the law, more so than a specific airline policy or a flight attendant asking.”
Federal penalties include fines up to $35,000 and possible jail time for passengers who assault, threaten, intimidate or interfere with airline crew members, according to the FAA. In December, the FAA also proposed fines of $15,000 and $7,500 for two passengers “for allegedly interfering with and assaulting flight attendants who instructed them to wear face coverings.”
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