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Wearing face masks to slow the spread of COVID-19 has been the norm for almost a year now but the commonly accepted practice of wearing a variety of face coverings like cloth masks, face shields and gaiters is under scrutiny and requirements might be about to change here in the US, especially in light of new, highly-transmissible COVID variants.
I wrote a post the other day about a tip from a friend in Germany saying that medical-grade masks are now required in shops and on public transportation. And then I read that Lufthansa will start requiring them as of February 1.
Today, I saw this tweet from London-based aviation analyst Alex Macheras: “Passengers flying the national airlines of Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium will have to wear either a surgical mask, or FFP2/KN95/N95 mask — all “face coverings” or any other types of masks will be banned ⛔️ #COVID19 https://t.co/6uRPUau4HU”
Will UK airlines follow their European counterparts? ✈️
Passengers flying the national airlines of Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium will have to wear either a surgical mask, or FFP2/KN95/N95 mask — all “face coverings” or any other types of masks will be banned ⛔️#COVID19 https://t.co/6uRPUau4HU
— Alex Macheras (@AlexInAir) January 25, 2021
Currently in the United States, face masks are compulsory on airplanes but surgical masks or N95 respirators have not (yet) been mandated. Masks with vents or exhalation valves have been banned. But if you have a mask that does have a valve, you must wear it with a face mask on top. I don’t have a confirmed answer right now about whether or not US airlines will start requiring N95 masks or similar but if I were a betting man, I’d say yes. The question is when.
I checked in with Henry Harteveldt, a travel industry analyst at Atmosphere Research Group to get his thoughts. “I suspect airlines will follow their governments’ guidelines,” he says. “For now, US airlines aren’t requiring either medical-grade masks or double-masking. But, if the CDC recommends a change and the government supports it, the airlines will respond. I’m about to order some N95s.”
I agree. And I have also ordered some N95 masks to be ready when the time comes. Right now, you can pretty easily find N95 and KN95 masks for purchase but that might not always be the case as demand increases. If you’re looking, check out the links below for N95 and KN95 masks on Amazon as well as N95, KN95 and other PPE on Aiden Health. (Full disclosure: I make a small commission from these links but there’s no extra cost to you.)
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