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TSA promotes COVID-19 safety guidance ahead of anticipated spring break travel spike

The Transportation Security Administration is working to adapt traveler screenings to try and increase social distancing wherever possible during the process.

The Travel Security Administration announced Tuesday their continued efforts to maintain as much social distance as possible during travel screenings in airports as the nation works to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The announcement comes ahead of the spring break travel season, when the agency anticipates seeing a spike in travel. While the TSA said they do expect traveler numbers to remain lower than they were before the pandemic during this time of year, the agency does expect to see the numbers go up. 

The TSA said agency workers have seen success so far with "near-100 percent compliance at airport checkpoints and authorities have reported the same throughout the surface and rail transportation modes."

If you are traveling, the TSA asks that you please:

  • Wear a face mask while traveling on all public modes of transportation. Remembering to cover both your nose and mouth with the mask. 
  • Be vigilant about leaving prohibited items at home to reduce the likelihood that you will need to come in physical contact with a TSA officer who would have to confiscate prohibited items. (Check for prohibited items here)
  • Be ready when you arrive, with your valid ID ready. Don't bring any liquid over 3.4 ounces (hand sanitizers are excluded from this rule, you have a 12 ounce limit for those in carry-on luggage.)
  • Absolutely no firearms/guns at security checkpoints. Passengers can only fly with firearms in checked baggage. The TSA has guidance here on properly packing and declaring firearms in baggage. 
  • Enroll in TSA PreCheck

Darby LaJoye, Senior Official Performing the Duties of the TSA Administrator said in a statement, “Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve installed new credential authentication technology and computed tomography equipment at hundreds of checkpoints that greatly reduces the need for physical contact between our officers and the traveling public."

All modes of domestic transportation in the United States now require face masks be worn for both employees and passengers. On Feb. 2 the TSA began implementing an executive order signed by President Joe Biden which requires that face masks be worn in airports, on planes, busses and in rail stations. These requirements are for public transportation operating on scheduled fixed-routes. 

The agency has recommended a $250 fine for first offenses if no mask is worn, and up to a $1,500 fine for repeat offenders. Also, "based on substantial aggravating or mitigating factors, TSA may seek a sanction amount that falls outside these ranges."

If you need to ask the TSA a question, you can reach them on Twitter @AskTSA or via Facebook Messenger, weekdays from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. EST and weekends/holidays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST. 

Reach the TSA Contact Center by phone at 866-289-9673.

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