National mask mandate not prompting major changes at airport

Coronavirus Updates

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4) – The national mask mandate goes into effect at midnight. It was signed by the president last week and requires passengers to wear a mask in airports and on planes, trains, ships, and intercity buses.

The Salt Lake Airport and various airlines have been requiring masks since the start of the pandemic but now passengers who fail to comply- could be faced with repercussions from the federal government.

“It’s no problem off my back, putting a mask on,” passenger Hank Olson said.

Since the start of the pandemic, airport officials say masks have been required in the airport and by most airlines. This mandate gives federal agencies like TSA the ability to enforce the mandate.

“I think having this federal guideline just helps reinforce the importance of wearing a mask and gives us the ability to enforce it,” Nancy Volmer with the Salt Lake Airport said.

Just last week, a group of passengers departing from Salt Lake en route to Dallas were kicked off an American Airlines flight due to not improperly wearing a mask.

The Association of Flight Attendants released a statement reading in part: “Executive action on a mask mandate for interstate travel, including airports and planes, will provide much needed back up for Flight Attendants and aviation workers on the frontlines.” 

The Utah Transit Authority says masks have been well received by passengers.

“In many cases, we are asking people to board a bus through the rear door instead of the front door and we have been doing a lot of enhanced cleaning,” Carl Arky says.

Masks will also be required in all taxis and ride sharing vehicles.

Failure to comply could be a federal crime but the CDC says a civil penalty is more likely.

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