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Mask Compliance on Airlines Now Federal Mandate

Date: February 3, 2021

As we have previously reported, President Biden issued an Executive Order on Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel on January 21, 2021. This was welcome news, as AFA has been advocating for an aviation mask mandate since April 2020. 

Since that time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an order on January 29 entitled: the: Requirement for Persons to Wear Masks While on Conveyances and at Transportation Hubs. The order went into effect at 11:59 PM ET on February 1.

Starting today, February 2, TSA will require individuals to wear a mask at TSA airport screening checkpoints and throughout the commercial and public transportation systems. This requirement will remain in effect until May 11, 2021. Passengers without a mask may be denied entry, boarding, or continued transport. Depending on the circumstance, those who refuse to wear a mask may be subject to a civil penalty.

To comply with the order, face masks should cover the nose and mouth, consist of multiple layers, and fit snugly against the sides without gaps. Masks can be either manufactured or homemade and should be a solid piece of material without slits, exhalation valves, or punctures. While medical masks and N-95 respirators fulfill CDC and TSA’s requirements, face shields and/or goggles are not an acceptable substitute for the use of a mask; however, they may be used in addition to an acceptable mask. For additional information, refer to the Inflight Safety Alert on the Federal mask requirement which was published by the company.

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