Calls for TSA to make masks mandatory

Mississippi Congressman Bennie G. Thompson and California Congressman Lou Correa sent a letter to the Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) calling on him to issue a requirement for airline passengers to wear masks in order to go through airport security checkpoints.

The Members previously wrote TSA on this issue in May.  Currently, only Transportation Security Officers are required to wear masks at checkpoints.

“It is necessary that you immediately require travelers to wear masks at security checkpoints,” the Members wrote. “This is a basic measure that should have been taken months ago. Further delays will exacerbate the spread of this pandemic and endanger the safety, security, and health of employees and passengers. The public’s confidence in air travel will not be restored by neglecting to take action.”

The Members also wrote: “TSA often touts its ‘layers of security’ approach to protecting aviation passengers. Without mandating one of the most fundamental and scientifically proven methods of reducing the spread of COVID-19, it is unclear what other measures or layers are mitigating the risk of transmission when people come in close contact with each other. It is your responsibility as Administrator to ensure security at TSA checkpoints and protect the TSA workforce.”

“In discussing your consideration of a passenger mask requirement, you have expressed that you do not wish to place TSA employees in the middle of a controversy. To be clear, the only controversy surrounding masks is a dangerous political one manufactured by President Trump and his enablers. There is a clear consensus among public health officials that masks are effective in curbing the spread of COVID-19. We are concerned that your priority appears to be to stay in line with the partisan rhetoric of those that consider support for or use of facial coverings a betrayal of President Trump.”

Thompson is Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security and Correa is the Chairman of the Transportation and Maritime Security Subcommittee,

Click here to see the full letter to the TSA.