TSA issues security directive to address new federal mask requirements

RAPID CITY, S.D. — The Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) has issued a security directive in response to President Biden’s executive order, Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel, issued in late January.

The Centers for Disease Control issued an order in support of Biden’s move, setting a federal requirement for passengers on airline flights, trains, subways, buses, taxis, and ride-shares to wear a mask over their nose and mouth. The order also covers to waiting areas like airport terminals and subway stations. The CDC advised airline and transit crews to deny transportation to people who refuse to wear a mask.

Masks are currently required at Rapid City Regional Airport, however, it is now mandated by federal law. Individuals refusing to wear a mask at an airport may be subject to federal penalties.

“The safety of the traveling public, our employees and our tenants is of the utmost importance to us,” stated Patrick Dame, Rapid City Regional Airport Executive Director.  “While the enforcement piece of this security directive is the responsibility of the Airport operator, we ask for the public’s cooperation and understanding as we comply with the federal mandate.”

The TSA security directive authorizes the following exemptions:

  • Eating, drinking, or taking medications, for brief periods
  • Communicating with a person who is hearing impaired
  • Instances when wearing oxygen masks are needed due to loss of cabin pressure or other event affecting aircraft ventilation
  • Travelers who are unconscious (for reasons other than sleeping), incapacitated, unable to be awakened, or otherwise unable to move without assistance
  • Verifying a traveler’s identity, such as through TSA screening or by a ticket or gate agent
  • Children under the age of two years
  • A person with a disability who cannot safely wear a mask
  • A person for whom wearing a mask would pose a risk to workplace health, safety, or job duty as determined by relevant federal regulations or workplace safety guidelines

The TSA’s directive will be effective starting Feb. 1. at 10 p.m. Mountain Time (12 a.m. Eastern).

Categories: Coronavirus, Local News, National News