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May 11, 2020

Travelers, staff at Philadelphia International Airport now required to wear face masks

The policy took effect Monday and is mandated until the COVID-19 pandemic has passed

Travel Coronavirus
PHL face coverings Thom Carroll/For PhillyVoice

Customers and employees at Philadelphia International Airport are now mandated to wear face coverings.

Face masks covering the mouth and nose are now required for passengers and employees at Philadelphia International Airport. The measure, which went into effect Monday, will remain in place for the duration of the coronavirus outbreak.

Passengers and employees who are eating or drinking, or who are alone in offices, are exempt from the rule. 

The airport will encourage travelers to abide by its face covering rules by placing graphics on digital screens and printed signage across the terminals. Digital signage is already in place on advertising screens, the airport said, and PHL security personnel and staff will enforce the rules.

Many airlines that with flights to and from Philadelphia International – like Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines, and United – requiring their passengers to wear face masks while flying due to the COVID-19 crisis. Those airlines have been providing face coverings to travels who don't have them.

Philadelphia International Airport’s decision to require face masks is the latest measure taken by the airport to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. 

The airport has decals on the floors along with other reminders for travelers to practice social distancing in places like bathrooms entrances, moving walkways, kiosk lines, and escalators. Passengers also are encouraged to not pass one another on the walkways.

To keep people at least 6 feet apart, restaurants and retail shops in the airport have signs telling customers where to stand. They also have installed protective shields at cash registers, encouraged contactless ordering, and spaced out food court tables and chairs in order to promote social distancing. Customers are prohibited from moving tables and chairs. 

“Physical distancing has been a major focus of our efforts,” said Leah Douglas, director of guest experience at Philadelphia International Airport. “There are many places throughout the airport where guests wait in lines, from ticket counters and self-service kiosks to security checkpoints and restrooms. We’ve been working with our airport partners — the airlines, TSA and concessionaires — to identify where we need to remind passengers to practice physical distancing, as well as the best way to do that.”

The CDC has recommended everyone wear cloth masks when leaving their homes. The masks do not protect the person who wears them; rather, they prevent sick individuals – including those who do not have symptoms – from spreading their germs. About 25% of people infected by the coronavirus are asymptomatic, but they may still be able to transmit the virus to others.

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