Concerns that mask mandates lapse for flyers

SAN FRANCISCO (CROWN) – Some people are nervous about flying after a federal judge in Florida abolished the requirement to wear a mask at airports and during flights. Now some airlines are trying to work with these passengers to find a solution.

At San Francisco International Airport, there are about 50-50 people who are masked and unmasked.

“You need to look at your own risk tolerance, your own risk factors and how much disease you are likely to encounter,” said UC Berkeley Professor of Infectious Diseases John Swartzberg.

A rare sight at the airport – many people are now exposed after a federal judge in Florida dropped the masking requirement.

“It should not have been made by a very inexperienced number 1 referee who was really far out of his field,” Swartzberg said.

He added that he does not think it was the right decision and some passengers agree.

Some airlines say they now offer options – including reimbursement in some cases – for passengers who are worried about flying.

United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby said, “we are working with these customers to find another option, give them a credit, or if they just never want to fly again, (we are) actually willing to give them a refund.”

American Airlines CEO Robert Isom said, “but as we do in all of these events, we take a look at our policies and ask them to contact our reservation office and we will make sure we meet them appropriately.”

KRON4 spoke to passenger Bauline Rechu from France and she says she still wants to wear her mask.

But passenger Marina Gavrilina has it different.

“I stopped a few weeks ago, even in the stores, and I’m fine. If you take basic precautions and you take care of all the hygiene, you should be fine,” she said.

Dr. Swartzberg says it is up to each person to weigh the risks, and some people need to consider their risk more carefully.

“If you’re older, if you have conditions that will really predispose you to a bad outcome like being immunocompromised, these are some examples of people who really need to weigh the pros and cons more,” Swartzberg said.

Dr. Swartzberg still recommends wearing a well-fitting mask if you are concerned about COVID while traveling. He also suggests getting fully vaccinated and getting a booster shot.

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