American Airlines Latest to Ban Face Masks with Valves or Vents

Cornelia Mascio
Agosto 15, 2020

The changes reflect guidelines that the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated last week to say that vented masks do "not prevent the person wearing the mask from transmitting COVID-19 to others".

"The objective of masks is to keep respiratory droplets from reaching others to aid with source control". However, the CDC is now warning against wearing masks with exhalation valves or vents, like construction workers would wear.

They had originally been hailed as coverings that made breathing easier for the wearer, but the public health institute has questioned their effectiveness against the spread of Covid-19.

American Airlines became the latest USA carrier to ban the use of masks with vents or valves on its flights, according to the company's website. Alaska, Delta, Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit, and United have all made the same move.

The airline requires all other customers to wear a face covering from the time they enter the airport where their trip begins until they leave the airport where their trip ends.

Bearing in mind the goal of a mask is less about protecting the wearer and more about preventing the wearer from spreading the virus to others, this makes sense. The CDC notes that face coverings with one-way valves or vents allow exhaled air to be expelled through holes in the material. A few layers of cotton prevent most of the potentially infectious respiratory droplets from escaping into the air around you, and they are also much cooler than the form-fitting N95 masks.

In addition, American Airlines now bans masks made with materials that do not prevent the discharge of respiratory droplets, such as mesh or lace.

Only children under the age of two are exempt from the carrier's face covering policy. An effective covering, worn properly, is one of the best ways we can control the spread of COVID-19 to protect our team members and customers. Face coverings can only be briefly removed while the customer is eating or drinking. However, during the duration of the flight, strict requirements and measures still apply in wearing the mask at all times.

A well-secured cloth or mask that fits snugly against the face and covers an individual's nose and mouth. Also, the substitution of face shields for masks is strongly discouraged, and face shields should only be used with the presence of a mask.

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