Major U.S. Airlines dropped mask requirement
The Biden administration will no longer enforce a U.S. mask mandate on public transportation, after a federal judge in Florida ruled that the directive was unlawful, overturning a key White House effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Airlines including Alaska Airlines, Delta, American Airlines, United, Jetblue, Southwest Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Spirit Airlines, and Hawaiian Airlines welcomed the move on Monday by saying they would no longer require masks, Reuters wrote.
“As a result of this development, effective immediately, masks are no longer required onboard Southwest Airlines, or in most airports, but certain cities, states, and countries may still require masks. We encourage individuals to make the best decision to support their personal wellbeing and to check local airport mask policies when traveling,” Southwest Airlines stated.
The Philadelphia International Airport said masks must still be worn inside the airport’s terminals in compliance with the governor’s indoor mask requirement. San Francisco International Airport announced Tuesday afternoon that masks are now optional for guests and employees. Masks are also no longer required at Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway International Airports, according to NBC News.
Britain dropped all its remaining coronavirus travel restrictions last month, and British Airways and Virgin Atlantic were among the first carriers to make mask-wearing optional, unless the destination required masks. Both airlines updated their mask policies on Tuesday to make masks optional on flights to U.S. destinations. Other European airlines, like Air France and Lufthansa, said they would continue to enforce mask mandates on all their routes, in line with French and German coronavirus regulations. The Dutch airline KLM stopped enforcing mask mandates last month, but said it “strongly recommends” that passengers wear them, in line with guidance from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, The New York Times reported.
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