The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has ordered employees to wear facial protection at airport screening checkpoints.
The decision will be implemented over the coming days and adds to measures minimizing the spread of COVID-19.
Wearing protective eyewear will remain voluntary by TSA personnel serving in active screening positions.
David Pekoske, TSA administrator, said, “TSA is making this change to protect our employees and travelers as social distancing cannot always be maintained in the screening process.”
Passengers are being encouraged to wear facial protection and may be asked to lower their facial covering for identity verification purposes.
TSA is considering further changes to screening systems to limit physical interactions at security checkpoints.
Airlines for America (A4A), the trade organization representing major US airlines, has welcomed the move, following calls by members to require customer-facing employees and passengers to wear a cloth mask over their nose and mouth.
The association says facial coverings are an important and necessary step to protect employees and the traveling public.
A4A said, “This would ensure needed consistency for the duration of the passenger journey and instill greater confidence for the traveling public that the airlines, airports and federal government are prioritizing their health and safety.”