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Alaska Airlines makes masks optional following federal ruling

Alaska Airlines announced that wearing masks will be optional, following a federal judge voiding the requirement that masks be worn on all public transit.
Published: Apr. 18, 2022 at 3:51 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Alaska Airlines announced Monday that wearing masks on its planes will be optional, following a federal judge voiding the requirement that masks be worn on all public transit.

Masking on Alaska Airlines planes and in airports will become optional effective immediately, the company announced in a statement Monday.

“Due to a judicial decision in our federal court system, the mask mandate has been overturned, which means our guests and employees have the option to wear a mask while traveling in the U.S. and at work,” the statement read.

Earlier on Monday, a federal judge in Florida voided the national mask mandate that covered airplanes and other public transportation. It wasn’t immediately clear if the government planned to appeal the ruling, according to reporting from the Associated Press.

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention implemented a federal mask mandate for public transportation in January 2021, Alaska Airlines had its mask requirement in place for nearly two years.

The company’s statement also addressed what will happen to people who were banned from flying over not complying with the previous mask policy.

“Throughout the last two years, we have relied on reporting from agents and flight attendants to ban noncompliant guests from traveling while the federal mask policy remained in effect,” the statement reads. “Based on our reports, we will have some guests whose behavior was particularly egregious who will remain banned, even after the mask policy is rescinded.”

In its statement, Alaska Airlines said the company is “confident we will be ready to respond if faced with another COVID wave or even a new virus.”

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