“If you break the rules, be prepared to pay,” said President Biden as he announced new measures aimed at stamping out Covid-19, including doubling fines for travellers who don’t wear masks.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has been prompted to take a hard line on anyone not following federal rules on mask wearing on air, bus and other types of transportation.
The fine was set at $250 in January, but has now been doubled to $500 – and will go up for repeat offenders, who could end up forking out $3,000 for not wearing a face covering.
The mask mandate was set to expire on Monday, 13 September, but has been extended until 18 January.
The issue of masks remains a deeply contentious one in the United States.
The TSA has reported an alarming rise in the incidents of air rage, of which 74% were connected to the wearing of face coverings.
President Biden addressed the issue by declaring it “wrong and ugly.”
“And, by the way,” he added, “show some respect.”
Biden Getting Tough
The Biden administration has also introduced a sweeping vaccine mandate for millions of federal employees as well as workers at large companies.
The new measures will force up to 100 million to get vaccinated or face weekly Covid tests.
“This is not about freedom, or personal choice, it’s about protecting yourself and those around you,” President Biden said.
Up to 80 million Americans remains unvaccinated against Covid-19, which has cost over 650,000 lives in the U.S.