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United Airlines Customers Will Have To Wear Face Masks In Airports Too

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United Airlines has extended the face mask requirements for its passengers to the more than 360 airports around the world where the airline operates. The new requirement comes amid the worsening COVID-19 situation in several countries.

The airline said the mandate covers United customer service counters and kiosks, United Club locations, United's gates and baggage claim areas.

Customers who refuse to comply with the face mask requirements may be refused travel and banned from flying the airline during the time the mask requirement is in place.

The airline's decision comes as health officials, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC, have urged people to wear face masks in public to help protect communities and stem the spread of COVID-19.

The new policy is part of the airline's United CleanPlus program that includes a mandatory mask policy, electrostatic spraying, touchless check-in capabilities and a pre-boarding health self-assessment for passengers.

United said that the new face mask requirement is effective for all passengers traveling on and after Friday, July 24, regardless of when they purchased their tickets.

However, children under the age of two are exempted from the new rule. Passengers who believe they qualify for an exemption should contact United or an airport representative.

United said it will post signage throughout the airport to remind passengers about the new policy. The airline's employees will first give a verbal reminder and offer free masks to customers who are not wearing one.

Customers who refuse to comply with the new requirement will be offered a reminder card that outlines United's face covering policy. Continued non-compliance could result in a refusal to transport and the customer could also be banned from flying.

In early May, United issued a directive that required its flight attendants to wear a face covering and later, extended that policy to all customers. In June, the airline was among the first U.S. carriers to say it would suspend flight benefits of passengers who refused to comply while onboard.

United also said it is taking steps to limit the overall number of people on board its aircraft and separate customers wherever possible. The airline noted it switched to a larger plane for a total of more than 4,000 flights in May and June, creating more space onboard for passengers.

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