American Airlines announced Wednesday it would no longer allow face coverings with exhaust valves or vents.
The new policy goes into effect on Aug. 19.
This announcement follows the most recent recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to a press release from the Fort Worth-based airline, the CDC notes face coverings with one-way valves or vents allow exhaled air to be expelled through holes in the material. These can allow exhaled respiratory droplets to reach others and potentially spread COVID-19.
Face coverings made with materials such as mesh or lace fabrics are also not allowed.
"Wearing a face covering is a responsibility we all share. 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," said Alison Taylor, Chief Customer Officer at American. "Since American began requiring face coverings in early May, the vast majority of customers have welcomed our continuing efforts to strengthen the policy based on the CDC's guidance."
The face-coverings allowed by American Airlines are:
- A well-secured cloth or mask that fits snugly against the face and covers an individual's nose and mouth. It must be made of a material that prevents the discharge and release of respiratory droplets from a person's nose or mouth.
The face-coverings not allowed by the airline company are:
- Face coverings with exhaust valves.
- Face coverings made with materials such as mesh or lace fabrics.
- Face coverings that do not cover the nose and mouth.
- Face shields without the addition of a face covering.
American Airlines began requiring face coverings on board its flights in May and, in July, announced it would only allow exemptions for customers under 2 years old.
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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.