July 3 (UPI) — The Trump administration has issued guidance to airports and airlines to mandate the use of face coverings at all times as well as employ social distancing measures and minimize in-person interactions to prevent further spread of the coronavirus.
The Departments of Transportation, Health and Human Services and Homeland Security issued the guidelines Thursday recommending airlines and airports to adopt public health measures as airlines increase flights in the United States amid the reopening of the U.S. economy.
“This document provides clear guidance to airlines and airports to protect the traveling public, and we encourage people to pay attention to it,” said Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao in a statement.
The document consists of 11 guidelines, including the use of masks or cloth face coverings for all above the age of two.
“Airlines and airports are strongly encouraged to require that everyone correctly wear a mask or cloth face covering in shared spaces,” the document said, explaining exceptions should be put in place for those who suffer from a medical condition that causes them trouble breathing.
It continues that the airport and airlines should make masks available to passengers and employees, stating a mask is “particularly necessary any time social distancing connect be maintained.”
Concerning social distancing, the document recommends airports use “appropriate measures” such as floor markings and blocking terminal or gate area seating in all shared spaces to assist people to practice this health measure and to inform passengers when it may not be possible to meet these guidelines while emphasizing other preventative measures, such as strict hand hygiene.
The guidelines were published as airlines lift capacity limits on their flights.
American Airlines lifted restrictions on flight capacity on Wednesday but said they will notify passengers when the flight is full and allow them to change flights at no additional cost.
United Airlines said it wouldn’t put a cap on its flights but would tell passengers when the flights were full.
In late April, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways and American Airlines announced they would require all passengers to wear face coverings on aircraft.