United Airlines makes mask mandate inside airports

United Airlines announced Wednesday its passenger will be required to wear facial masks inside airports where it operates around the world.

The move will affect passengers at the 360 airports the airliner flies out of, and covers United customer service counters, kiosks, United Club facilities, gates and baggage claim areas.

“If customers refuse to comply, they may be refused travel and banned from flying United at least while the mask requirement is in place,” United said in a statement. “This will be effective for all customers traveling on and after [Friday] regardless of when their ticket was purchased.”

The carrier said the only exemptions will be children under age 2. United said passengers should contact them in advance if they believe they have “extraordinary circumstances” that require an exception.

“The most important thing any of us can do to slow the spread of the coronavirus is to simply wear a mask when we’re around other people,” United’s Chief Executive Officer Scott Kirby said in a statement. “A mask is about protecting the safety of others, and I’m proud of the aggressive and proactive steps United Airlines has taken to ensure people are wearing a face covering in the airports where we operate and on board the aircraft we fly.”

The airliner said Tuesday it lost $1.63 billion in the second quarter with revenue falling 87%. It said it will operate at barely over one-third of capacity through September because of the coronavirus and its restrictions around the world.

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