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TSA Doubles Fines For Passengers Who Refuse To Wear Face Masks On Planes

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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The fine for refusing to wear a mask on public transportation — including airplanes, trains, and buses – will double immediately, the TSA announced this week.

Passengers wearing protective masks onboard a Boeing Co. 737-800 operated by Avelo Airlines ahead of the airline’s inaugural flight at Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR) in Burbank, California, U.S., on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. New money is flowing to low-cost airlines in the U.S. as they take on giant carriers racing to recover from the unprecedented collapse in travel during the pandemic. Photographer: Bing Guan/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The federal mask mandate, which was implemented on Feb. 2, remains in effect until Jan. 18, 2022. The new range of penalties, which take effect Friday, will be $500 to $1,000 for a first offense, and $1,000 to $3,000 for second offenders.

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“We appreciate the majority of travelers 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,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said in a statement.

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The increased fines come at the end of a summer travel season that has seen a large uptick in violent confrontations between passengers and flight attendants over the federal mask mandate. In one shocking incident, an attack on an attendant on a flight from Sacramento to San Diego knocked out two of her teeth and left her face bloody.

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The TSA says mask mandate-related penalties are separate from the civil penalties issued by the FAA for people who engage in “unruly and unsafe behavior.”

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