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Uber, Lyft And Disney End Mask Mandates As COVID Cases Fall

By Dave Simpson

Uber Technologies UBER.N and Lyft Inc LYFT.O have scrapped face mask mandates for their riders and drivers in the United States, the ride-hailing companies said on Tuesday 19 April, as COVID cases have fallen sharply from their January peak.

Walt Disney Co DIS.N also said that wearing masks would be optional for fully vaccinated visitors at its indoor and outdoor locations and transport facilities. It recommended guests who are not fully vaccinated to continue wearing face coverings at all indoor locations and enclosed transportation

Lyft, which also ended requirements for vehicle windows to be kept open and for the front seat to empty, said health safety reasons will no longer appear under cancellation options on its app.

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Uber, which introduced mask mandates for its drivers, riders and delivery workers around the world in May 2020, said that riders will have the option to cancel their trip if they feel uncomfortable with revocation of the mask mandate.

Uber added that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends wearing a mask if a person has certain high-risk factors or if transmission levels are high in their area. The company in November resumed shared rides, which had been suspended due to rising COVID cases.

Allegiant Travel Co ALGT.O, Hawaiian Holdings Inc HA.O, Spirit Airlines SAVE.N and Frontier Group Holdings Inc ULCC.O also lifted their mask mandates on Tuesday 19 April.

The Joe Biden administration said on Monday 18 April that it would no longer enforce a US mask mandate on public transportation, after a federal judge in Florida ruled that the 14-month-old directive was unlawful.

Major carriers including American Airlines AAL.O, United Airlines UAL.O and Delta Air Lines DAL.N relaxed curbs following the announcement.

FACTBOX-US Airlines Drop Mask Requirements For Passengers, Employees

The above news followed news that the Biden administration will no longer enforce a US mask mandate on public transportation, after a federal judge in Florida ruled that the directive was unlawful, overturning a key White House effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Airlines welcomed the move on Monday 18 April by saying that they would no longer require masks:

Alaska Airlines ALK.N

"Face masks have been like boarding passes for nearly two years — you couldn't fly without one. But, as of today, masks are optional in airports and onboard aircraft, effective immediately."

"While we are glad this means many of us get to see your smiling faces, we understand some might have mixed feelings. Please remember to be kind to one another and that wearing a mask while traveling is still an option."

American Airlines AAL.O

"Face masks will no longer be required for our customers and team members at US airports and on domestic flights.

"Please note face masks may still be required based on local ordinances, or when traveling to/from certain international locations based on country requirements."

Delta Air Lines DAL.N

"Effective immediately, masks are optional for all airport employees, crew members and customers inside US airports and onboard aircraft."

"We are relieved to see the US mask mandate lift to facilitate global travel as COVID-19 has transitioned to an ordinary seasonal virus. Thank you for your support in complying with the federal mask mandate and keeping each other, and our customers, safe during the pandemic."

United Airlines UAL.O

"Effective immediately, masks are no longer required at United on domestic flights, select international flights (dependent upon the arrival country's mask requirements) or at US airports.

"While this means that our employees are no longer required to wear a mask - and no longer have to enforce a mask requirement for most of the flying public - they will be able to wear masks if they choose to do so, as the CDC continues to strongly recommend wearing a mask on public transit."

JetBlue JBLU.O

"Mask wearing will now be optional on JetBlue. While no longer required, customers and crewmembers are welcome to continue wearing masks in our terminals and on board our aircraft."

Southwest Airlines LUV.N

"Southwest employees and customers will be able to choose whether they would like to wear a mask, and we encourage individuals to make the best decision to support their personal wellbeing."

Allegiant Travel Co ALGT.O

"Allegiant will no longer enforce the federal mask mandate. Should the guidance change, we will adjust our policy accordingly. Passengers and employees still have the option to wear masks in airports and on aircraft if they so choose."

Hawaiin Holdings Inc HA.O

"Effective immediately, face masks are optional for our guests and employees onboard Hawaiian Airlines flights."

Spirit Airlines SAVE.N

"Face coverings are now optional for Spirit Team Members & Guests onboard our flights following the federal court ruling and TSA guidance."

Frontier Group Holdings Inc ULCC.O

"Masks are now optional on domestic flights, however, certain airports or countries may still require masks."

Airlines for America (Industry Trade Group)

"The high level of immunity and widespread vaccine accessibility in the US coupled with the hospital-grade cabin air on aircraft provide a strong, science-based foundation for passengers to travel with confidence as restrictions are lifted on our nation's airlines."

"We look forward to welcoming millions of travelers back to the skies this summer to reunite with loved ones, attend conferences or to take a vacation."

News by Reuters, edited by Hospitality Ireland. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.

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Enjoy full access to Hospitality Ireland, our weekly email news digest, all website and app content, and every digital issue.
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Enjoy full access to Hospitality Ireland, our weekly email news digest, all website and app content, and every digital issue.
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