Transportation Security Administration (TSA) workers were empowered yesterday to enforce President Joe Biden's new mask mandate “at TSA screening checkpoints and throughout the commercial and public transportation system.”
Biden's mask mandate, signed on January 20, requires mask wearing and physical distancing in federal buildings and on federal lands, and bolsters previously existing mask mandates enforced by airlines and airports.
According to CNN,
Acting Secretary David Pekoske on Sunday signed a Determination of National Emergency, which said the TSA can “take actions consistent with the authorities” of its federal jurisdiction so it can enforce the mask mandate order laid out by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention late Friday.
As reported by Travel Pulse, the enforcement powers are built off of one of Biden's first executive orders:
The CDC’s mandate builds upon an executive order that Biden signed on Inauguration Day, and requires that people wear masks that cover both the nose and mouth while using public means of transportation and while waiting in airports, terminals, stations, etc. The CDC dictates that masks must include two or more layers of breathable fabric, and be secured around a person’s head using ties, ear loops or elastic bands.
Mask exemptions are not specifically enumerated in the executive order, which instead points back to “guidance... based on public health best practices as determined by the CDC and other public health experts,” and empowers “heads of agencies [to] make categorical or case-by-case exceptions... [which] shall require appropriate alternative safeguards, such as additional physical distancing measures, additional testing, or reconfiguration of workspace, consistent with applicable law.”