Alaska Airlines to require passengers to wear masks

SEATTLE (AP) — Alaska Airlines says passengers will soon need to wear face masks on flights due to the threat from coronavirus.

In a statement Friday, the Seattle-based airline said face masks will be mandatory beginning May 11. And employees who can’t maintain six feet of distance between passengers and other employees will also be required to wear masks.

“In light of COVID-19, we’re in a new era of air travel and are continually updating our safety standards to better protect our guests and employees,” said Max Tidwell, Alaska Airlines’ vice president of safety.

Guests will be expected to bring their own mask and will be required to wear it throughout the airport and flight experience.

Additional supplies will be available for anyone who forgets a face mask.

Specific details about the face mask requirements will be shared with guests later next week and in pre-trip communications before their date of travel. The temporary policy will be reevaluated periodically as guidance evolves.

Alaska says the face mask requirement is one of many safety measures it has taken during the coronavirus pandemic, including more frequent cleaning on flights of places like tray tables and lavatories and blocking middle seats on large aircraft and aisle seats on small planes through May.

The move follows similar measures from United, American, Southwest and JetBlue airlines.

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