The order outlines mask attributes that meet the CDC requirements and masks or other devices, such as neck gaiters, which do not meet the CDC requirements. It also lists certain exemptions to the mask requirement, including when a passenger is eating or drinking, communicating with a passenger who is hearing impaired, children under 2 years of age and passenger with a disability who cannot safely wear a mask.
Crew members are exempt when wearing a mask would create a risk to workplace health, safety, or job duty. The FAA interprets this to include pilots or crewmembers seated at their duty station.
Aircraft operators and transportation hub operators are tasked using “best efforts” to ensure compliance with these requirements. Any person not complying with the mandate should be told noncompliance is a violation of federal law, should not be boarded on an aircraft or should be disembarked as soon as possible.
The order comes on the heels of a recent announcement from the FAA, which increased civil penalties for passengers who interfere, physically assault or threaten a flight crewmember.