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Tucson airport will require passengers, others to wear face masks
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Tucson airport will require passengers, others to wear face masks

From the June's Tucson-area coronavirus coverage: Bars, gyms face shutdowns; Tucsonans worried telemedicine might disappear series

Mask mandate goes into effect at Tucson International Airport June 6

Aeropuerto de Tucson

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.

Passengers, employees and visitors to Tucson International Airport will be required to wear masks in the airport starting Saturday, June 6, the Tucson Airport Authority said.

TIA has adopted a number of safety measures to prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 but hadn’t required masks, instead “strongly recommending” them.

With its masks mandate, TIA joins many major airports including Phoenix Sky Harbor International, which began requiring masks in its terminals and public areas June 1.

The order by Tucson Airport Authority President and CEO Danette Bewley is being issued as more passengers are returning to flying and “to clarify possible confusion about the use of face coverings in the airport,” the Airport Authority said.

“We are sensitive to the concerns of travelers and decided the best course of action is to require everyone wear a face covering in the airport’s public facilities,” Bewley said in a news release.

On Monday, the airport had 1,379 departing passengers, its highest number since March 22 and nearly 10% higher than the national average, said Bruce Goetz, TAA vice president of operations and chief operating officer.

The order will be in effect until further notice and applies to all TIA public facilities, including the airport’s main passenger terminal, the C gates building, the rental-car center and airport-owned parking facilities, including shuttles and exit-booth lanes.

The face coverings need not be commercially made, but the expectation is that individuals entering the terminal will bring and wear their own face covering, the airport authority said.

Children under 2 years old do not need to wear masks, nor do children under 12 who cannot be assisted by a parent or guardian in putting on or removing the mask.

People who are incapacitated or have a physical disability and would require help in wearing or removing a mask also are exempt.

The Tucson airport began requiring employees wear face coverings in early April, when it also posted signs in the terminal advising passengers to wear them.

Most airlines now require passengers to wear face coverings when boarding.

Other steps TIA has taken to stem the spread of the coronavirus at the airport include 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.

For more information on mask rules and other coronavirus measures at Tucson International Airport, go to tucne.ws/tiac19.

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

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