May 1 (UPI) -- The Transportation Security Administration has extended its mask mandate for public travel by air, bus and rail.
The agency announced the Sept. 13 extension Saturday. The mandate was set to expire May 11.
"The federal mask requirement throughout the transportation system seeks to minimize the spread of COVID-19 on public transportation," said Darby LaJoye, the senior official performing the duties of the TSA administrator.
"Right now, about half of all adults have at least one vaccination shot and masks remain an important tool in defeating this pandemic. We will continue to work closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to evaluate the need for these directives and recognize the significant level of compliance thus far."
The TSA implemented the mandate Feb. 1 as part of President Joe Biden's order promoting protective health measures against COVID-19 in the travel sector.
Under the rules, masks are required at airports, bus and rail stations. The requirement applies to passenger aircraft, public transportation, passenger railroads and over-the-road buses operating on scheduled fixed-routes, the TSA said.
Flyers over the age of 2 who refuse to wear a mask will not be permitted in secure areas of airports, which includes the terminal and gate area, the TSA said.
Face shields and goggles are not acceptable substitutes for masks, the agency noted.
Under the mandate, TSA employees can cite and fine anyone who refuses to comply or interferes with screening agents.