Fines Doubled for Mask Mandate Violators

Allen Smith, J.D. By Allen Smith, J.D. September 15, 2021
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airline passengers wearing masks

​Employees commuting on public transportation and on work travel should be aware that fines have been doubled for people who violate the federal mandate to wear masks in airports and on planes, trains and buses. We've gathered articles on the news from SHRM Online and other media outlets.

New Fines

Penalties for first-time offenders have been raised to at least $500. Second-time mask refusers may be fined as much as $3,000. But enforcement remains a challenge. Since the Transportation Security Administration announced that everyone except children under 2 years old and people with certain disabilities must wear masks on airplanes and in airports in the U.S., the agency has received more than 4,000 reports of mask-related incidents, according to an agency spokesman. Yet only 126 people have faced fines.

(The New York Times)

Mask Mandate Extended

Last month, the Biden administration extended the federal mask mandate for air, bus and train travel through Jan. 18 to slow the spread of COVID-19. The mandate had been set to expire in mid-September. Airline crews enforce the mask policy on planes and have complained about a surge in unruly passenger behavior, often tied to violations of the mandate.

(CNBC)

Fines Against Unruly Passengers

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations state that "no person may assault, threaten or interfere with a crewmember in the performance of the crewmember's duties aboard an aircraft being operated." So far this year, the agency has imposed more than $1 million in fines against unruly passengers.

(USA Today)

Civil Penalties Are Also Possible

Mask penalties are separate from civil penalties that the FAA may issue for unmanageable actions. Mask obligations have led to many tense encounters between passengers who do not want to comply and flight attendants who have been asked to enforce the rules. "Please pay homage," President Joe Biden said. "The anger on TV for flight attendants and others working is wrong. It's ugly."

(Texas News Today)

Series of Proposals to Fight COVID-19 Pandemic Announced

The Biden administration made the announcement about the doubled fines on Sept. 9, the same day President Joe Biden announced a series of proposals to combat the COVID-19 pandemic more aggressively. These proposals include plans for a new rule requiring employers with 100 or more employees to mandate that their workers be vaccinated or undergo weekly testing. The president also signed orders stipulating that most federal employees and federal contractors, as well as most health care workers across the country, be vaccinated against COVID-19.

(SHRM Online) and (SHRM Online)

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Vaccine Mandate for Employers with 100+ Employees

President Joe Biden announced a series of proposals to combat the COVID-19 pandemic more aggressively, including plans for a new rule requiring employers with 100 or more employees to mandate that their workers be vaccinated or undergo weekly testing.

President Joe Biden announced a series of proposals to combat the COVID-19 pandemic more aggressively, including plans for a new rule requiring employers with 100 or more employees to mandate that their workers be vaccinated or undergo weekly testing.

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