PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport announced Wednesday that it will require everybody -- employees and travelers, alike -- to wear a face mask starting June 1. The mandate includes the terminals, the Rental Car Center, the PHX Sky Train, and Airport buses. If you're going to be in any public space in an airport facility, you will have to have some kind of mask.
“Travelers, employees, and those visiting the airport should bring their own face covering to wear throughout the airport,” explains SkyHarbor.com’s COVID-19 page. Several airport stores are currently selling masks with more stores to offer additional options soon."
SkyHarbor.com says your face mask can be a homemade cloth mask or even a bandanna. The only requirement is that it covers you face and nose.
Airports in Seattle, Denver and Miami, along with LAX, JFK in New York and Boston Logan, have implemented similar measures, as has ride-share company Uber.
All major airlines are requiring passengers and employees to wear face masks, not just on their planes, but also in the terminals.
There are a few exceptions to the new rule at Sky Harbor.
- Children two years of age or younger
- Any child age 12 years or less unless parents and caregivers supervise the use of face coverings, or any individual who has a physical disability that prevents easily wearing or removing a face covering
- Any individual who is hearing impaired and uses facial and mouth movements as part of communication, or it is necessary for communicating with an individual using facial and mouth movements to share information
- Individuals consuming food or beverages
- Individuals who are unable to wear a face covering due to a documented medical condition
- When necessary for identification verification purposes
- When necessary for taking photographs for Aviation Credentialing/Security Badging purposes
It's not clear how the mandate for face coverings will be enforced.
Southwest Airlines has told flight crews not to stop passengers from boarding if they refuse…
Sky Harbors officials say its "vigilant sanitation efforts" and "thorough 24-hour cleaning schedule" will remain in place. Other measures the Airport has taken to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 include social distance markers, hand sanitizer dispensers, plexiglass barriers at information counters, along with signs and periodic announcements encouraging social distancing.
Even though the order states the airport should help fulfill the order, there is nothing in the executive order actually outlining the responsibilities of any Arizona airport.
Compared to other major events like 9/11 and the Great Recession, Bennett says the COVID-19 pandemic will be the most severe shock to the aviation business and Sky Harbor.