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Tucson airport urges visitors to wear face masks; Sky Harbor to require them

Tucson airport urges visitors to wear face masks; Sky Harbor to require them

From the May's Tucson-area coronavirus coverage: Cases rise, judge rules that state can keep nursing home data from public series

Tucson International Airport workers Karl Bosma, left, and George Cantua lay down stickers to mark 6 feet of distance around one of the baggage carousels, part of the airport’s effort to encourage social distancing during the pandemic.

Tucson International Airport isn’t requiring passengers to wear face masks in its terminal areas as part of its COVID-19 safety precautions, though some airports are requiring face coverings.

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport announced recently it would require face masks in all if its public facilities starting June 1.

Most major airlines are requiring passengers to wear face coverings and airports including Los Angeles International are requiring them.

TIA isn’t requiring face coverings at this time, but the Tucson Airport Authority strongly recommends masks and requires all people who enter the TIA terminal area to adhere to social-distancing guidance, said airport spokesman David Hatfield.

However, the TAA requires all of its staffers to wear face masks in public airport areas.

“In addition, travelers must adhere to airline requirements, which include wearing a face mask on board the aircraft,” the airport authority said.

“For those passengers who do not have a face mask, the airline will provide them with a mask.”

Hatfield noted that the airport has taken a number of COVID-19 safety steps, including installing clear plastic shields at counters; increased cleaning frequency and monitoring of restrooms and “high-touch” surfaces like handrails; and increased disinfection of restrooms and waiting areas.

Meanwhile Phoenix Sky Harbor will require all employees and members of the public to wear face coverings when entering public airport facilities, including the terminals, the rental-car center and the shuttle train and buses.

Travelers, employees and those visiting the airport should bring their own face covering to wear throughout the airport, Sky Harbor said, noting that several airport stores are selling masks.

Kelly Presnell / Arizona Daily Star

Veinte nuevas estaciones de desinfección de manos han sido colocadas alrededor del TIA. El aeropuerto ha intensificado también su régimen de limpieza para proteger la salud de los visitantes.

Sky Harbor said face coverings do not have to be commercially purchased and can be a homemade cloth masks or bandanas — as long as they cover the nose and mouth.

Exceptions to the mask policy include children 12 years or younger unless parents or caregivers supervise the use of face coverings; people whose disability prevents them from using a mask; and people as they eat and drink or need to uncover their faces for identification.

Meanwhile, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport is not requiring passengers and other airport visitors to wear masks but strongly urges mask use.

The Transportation Security Administration is requiring its employees, including airport screeners, to wear face masks and strongly urges passengers to do so.

The TSA has also implemented special rules, including requiring passengers to scan their own boarding passes and put carry-on food through X-ray screening at checkpoints.

Contact senior reporter David Wichner at dwichner@tucson.com or 573-4181. On Twitter: @dwichner. On Facebook: Facebook.com/DailyStarBiz

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