Airlines & Unions Asks Biden To Lift Mask Mandates & Covid-19 Testing Requirements
Executives for 10 major airlines and cargo carriers publicly urged President Joe Biden to drop the mask mandate and testing requirements for international 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 letter reads. “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.'”
During the height of the pandemic, the requirements were supported among airline employees, but as the COVID levels decreased, the number of unruly passengers skyrocketed, mainly over disputes regarding the mask mandate.
“It is critical to recognize that the burden of enforcing both the mask and pre-departure testing requirements has fallen on our employees for two years now,” the letter read. “This is not a function they are trained to perform and subjects them to daily challenges by frustrated customers. This, in turn, takes a toll on their own well-being.”
Earlier this month, the fourth extension for the transportation mask mandate that pushed the requirement toward the two-year mark was enacted. It is expected to be reevaluated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on April 18. At the time, the White House noted that in discretion and partnership with the CDC, they would deliberate moving the expiration date up if COVID cases kept decreasing.
The letter follows the news earlier this week that the Omicron sub-variant BA.2 spreads more easily than the first wave but does not cause worse symptoms than the first round.
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