TSA directive says masks now required for most U.S. travelers

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) issued a Security Directive on Jan. 31, 3021, to be effective today, Feb. 1, 2021 at 11:59 PM. The directive will last 100 days, expiring on May 11, 2021.

In general, the directive (1582/84-21-01) applies to all public conveyances including intercity bus services (over-the-road bus) operating in fixed-route service.

Applicability can be found in 49 CFR 1582.1(a); 49 CFR 1584.1; 49 CFR 1500.3. It is important that bus and motorcoach operators read these descriptions carefully to determine their individual company’s applicability.

While charter operations, in general, are not covered in the TSA directive, the United Motorcoach Association cautions operators to scrutinize certain operations such as regularly scheduled commuter service, casino shuttles, service to aggregators (Flix, OurBus, etc.), emergency Amtrak service and providing service to other scheduled service operations.

Bus and motorcoach companies must provide written confirmation of receipt of the TSA Security Directive by emailing TSA at TSA-Surface@tsa.dhs.gov IMMEDIATELY. Additionally, the directive must be disseminated throughout the company including owners, management and those subject to the provisions.

The directive provides important descriptions of masks that do not include shields and goggles.

TSA advises they will establish a Frequently Asked Questions website and recognizes that there remain applicability and implementation questions they will answer as issues arise.

TSA Surface Transportation staff worked through the weekend, conducting multiple calls with associations and industry including the UMA. In recognition of the effort involved in completing this action, UMA President and CEO Larry Killingsworth said, “UMA extends appreciation for the hard work and dedication of all that participated.”

The UMA Risk Management Committee will be reviewing the directive, providing additional analysis and recommendations.


On Jan. 21, President Biden issued an Executive Order promoting measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by travelers. Following the Executive Order, on January 29, the Centers for Disease Control issued, “Requirement for Travelers to Wear Masks While on Conveyances and at Transportation Hubs.”

To read the Executive Order, click here.

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