Delta Air Lines is no longer allowing passengers to wear masks that have exhaust valves, which can send highly concentrated virus droplets out at high speed, according to the airline's newest policy.
Such masks are made for people who work in industries and help protect workers from breathing in hazardous particles, reports Travel & Leisure. However, the CDC recommends people wear face coverings to protect people near them from breathing in harmful particles, not to protect the wearer from taking in virus droplets from other people.
Masks with a valve, however, could endanger people who are sitting nearby instead of protecting them.
The airline, however, does allow passengers to wear just a basic cloth covering. Plastic face shields are allowed but cannot be substituted for a maks that fits around a person's nose and mouth. Delta will provide a mask for anyone who shows up to fly but does not have an appropriate face covering.
Masks are required during check-in, at the Delta Sky Clubs, on the jet bridge, at boarding, and on planes, except for when passengers are being served their meals.
Further, anyone who is seeking an exemption for a medical condition must go through an extensive, virtual "clearance-to-fly" pre-boarding process involving the passenger, a Delta agent, and a third-party medical professional, which can take an hour to finish.
Delta has already temporarily banned more than 100 passengers for refusing to wear a mask, and CEO Ed Bastian said in an interview earlier this month that "if you insist on not wearing your mask, we will insist that you don't fly Delta into the future."
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