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June 15, 2021

PHL rolls out new mask-wearing guidance for vaccinated passengers

All passengers, regardless of vaccination status, still must wear masks inside the airport and on planes

Travel COVID-19
PHL face masks Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

In light of recent recommendations from the CDC and the city lifting its face mask requirement, vaccinated travelers will no longer be required to wear a mask in outdoor areas of PHL like parking garages or curbside baggage check.

Philadelphia International Airport announced updates to its face mask requirements for vaccinated passengers in light of the city lifting its COVID-19 restrictions.

Effective immediately, all fully vaccinated passengers do not need to wear face masks in outdoor areas of the airport, PHL said.

This includes drop-off areas, parking garages and curbside baggage check.

Passengers still must wear face masks inside the airport and on airplanes, however, except while eating or drinking — regardless of vaccination status.

This move is in line with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's updated guidance for vaccinated travelers. Until it can amend the order, the CDC said it will exercise its enforcement discretion for vaccinated travelers wearing masks in outdoor areas.

Those considered fully vaccinated have passed the two-week period after receiving both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson.

A federal masking order, enforced by the Transportation Security Administration, still requires face masks to be worn inside airports and on airplanes across the country. That rule is set to expire on Sept. 13. 

As COVID-19 cases decline and vaccinations increase in Philadelphia and nationwide, the future looks good for airline travel.

On June 13, more than 2 million people passed through TSA security checkpoints, up significantly from the 544,000 people that traveled that day in 2020. Before the pandemic in 2019, more than 2.6 million people traveled on that day.

Philadelphia eased its COVID-19 restrictions last Friday and no longer requires fully vaccinated people to wear masks in most indoor and outdoor settings. 

Passengers that may have forgotten a face mask can get one for free at the PHL information desks.

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