ACI-NA welcomes Biden Administration’s facial covering requirement for all travellers

Posted: 27 January 2021 | | No comments yet

After its formal request for the previous administration to implement the requirement went unheard, ACI-NA has welcomed the Biden Administration’s new requirement for facial coverings to be worn by all travellers, including in airports.

Facial covering requirement for air travellers

Credit: Airports Council International - North America (ACI-NA)

Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA) – the trade association representing commercial service airports in the United States and Canada – has vocalised its support for the Biden Administration’s new requirement that all travellers wear a facial covering during interstate travel, including when they are in airports.

“American airports welcome this announcement by the Biden Administration to require passengers and workers to wear facial coverings whenever they are in an airport,” said ACI-NA’s President and CEO, Kevin M. Burke. “We are steadfastly committed to measures that provide for the health and safety of the travelling public and airport employees. That is why we have been consistently calling for federal guidelines for the use of facial coverings in airports since the spring of 2020. We are grateful for this leadership from the Biden Administration to help to minimise the spread of COVID-19 and re-instill confidence for those who work in or travel through America’s airports. ACI-NA and our members stand ready to assist the Administration with implementation and enforcement details.”

Due to the extraordinary nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in order to provide for the health and safety of passengers and aviation workers, ACI-NA first asked the U.S. Congress and the previous administration to establish a requirement on facial coverings in May 2020.

Burke formalised that request in a July 2020 letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar. In that letter, Burke asked the previous administration “to issue a requirement for the use of facial coverings by all individuals in air transportation.” This new rule will make it easier for airports to require all individuals in the public areas of passenger airport terminals to wear facial coverings over their nose and mouth amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

North American airports responded quickly to COVID-19 by establishing enhanced health and sanitation protocols that include: Much more frequent cleaning, with an intense focus on touchpoints in public areas and restrooms; more and upgraded cleaning supplies; extra shifts and staffing; additional hand sanitisers in airport public areas for passengers and employees; and additional education and training for airport employees and contractors. Many of the practices will remain in place for the foreseeable future.

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