(Natural News) Major airline companies based in the United States are calling on President Joe Biden to drop the federal transportation mask mandate, as well as the international pre-departure Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) testing requirement.
In an open letter, Airlines for America called on the Biden administration to “sunset federal transportation travel restrictions,” arguing that they no longer reflect the “realities of the current epidemiological environment.”
The letter was signed by the leaders of 10 U.S. companies, including Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines. The airline companies insist that the Biden administration consider the negative impact of unnecessary federal mandates on U.S. travel and tourism industries.
Moreover, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released guidance indicating that 99 percent of Americans now live in areas with low or medium transmission. Therefore, there is no longer a need to wear masks indoors. The airline companies argue that it is time to stop masking mandates for their industry as well.
The letter further said that it makes no sense for people to still be required to wear masks on airplanes, but be allowed to congregate in crowded restaurants, schools and sporting events without masks, despite these venues having no protective air filtration systems that aircraft do.
With the increase in vaccinations nationwide, plus the lifting of restrictions in other countries, the group argues that the Biden administration should reconsider its policies for travelers.
“The persistent and steady decline of hospitalization and death rates are the most compelling indicators that our country is well protected against severe disease from COVID-19,” the group wrote. (Related: Southwest Airlines employees protest COVID-19 vaccine mandate outside Dallas headquarters.)
They also quoted the president himself, saying: “Given that we have entered a different phase of dealing with this virus, we strongly support your view that ‘COVID-19 need no longer control our lives.'”
“We are encouraged by the current data and the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions from coast to coast, which indicate it is past time to eliminate COVID-era transportation policies,” the group went on.
Airline employees are not equipped for additional responsibilities
The CEOs also emphasized that while they have supported and cooperated with the federal government’s COVID policies that included masking and pre-departure testing, enforcing these rules has fallen to airline employees for the past two years. That is not a function the airline employees are trained to perform. It also subjects them to daily challenges by frustrated customers and takes a toll on their own well-being. (Related: United Airlines to fire nearly 600 workers for refusing to get COVID-19 jabs.)
Despite fewer flyers than pre-pandemic levels, cases of disruptive and uncooperative passengers have soared over the last two years, with airlines banning thousands of passengers due to their unruly behavior.
The letter also points out that those who still wish to wear masks for their own protection are more than welcome to do so.
In a separate statement, Delta stressed that their passengers will not be barred from wearing face masks. Mask mandate on public transportation and in transportation hubs should have expired on March 18, but the Transportation Security Administration extended the policy for another month.
While the U.S. maintains all travel restrictions, other countries such as the U.K., members of the European Union and Canada have done away with theirs. The inconsistency with its practices creates a competitive disadvantage for the country’s travel and tourism while placing an additional cost and burden on travel to the United States.
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