Airlines Demand Passengers Don Masks Between ‘Bites and Sips’

mask on airplane
Getty Images/Yaroslav Astakhov

Airline corporations have explicitly demanded passengers wear masks between bites of food and sips of drinks.

Despite a Harvard study reported by the Washington Post in 2020 that indicates “flying can be safer than eating at a restaurant during the pandemic” due to “onboard systems that constantly circulate and refresh air,” airlines have begun conducting in-flight announcements to cudgel people into donning masks while eating and drinking.

In compliance with TSA’s orders to wear a mask “between bites and sips,” Delta Air Lines and American Airlines are among the corporations that state mask-wearing must occur while eating and drinking.

“You can briefly lower or remove your face covering while actively eating, drinking or taking oral medication, but it must be worn between bites and sips,” American Airlines says on its website.

“Masks must be worn at all times except while eating, drinking, or taking oral medications for brief periods,” Delta demands. “Prolonged periods of mask removal are not permitted for eating or drinking – masks must be worn between bites and sips.

United Airlines, however, which is conducting in-flight reminders for passengers to wear masks between bites and sips, cited the Department of Defense-sponsored Harvard study as a reason to be assured jammed-full planes are safe.

“And even when the plane is full, on average only 0.003% of infected air particles could enter the breathing zone of seated, masked passengers, according to the DOD study,” United’s website reads.

Airlines are not the only organizations to mandate masks during dining experiences. California uses a similar TSA guideline for patrons at restaurants. “Going out to eat with members of your household this weekend? Don’t forget to keep your mask on in between bites,” Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) directives said. Similar to customers of the airline industry, Californians exempt from wearing masks are “children under two years old, due to the risk of suffocation,” and people with certain medical conditions.

These strict face covering rules have been difficult for some Democrat politicians to follow. For instance, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) showed up in Washington, DC, over the weekend without wearing a mask despite crafting “permanent” mask rules for Oregonians.

President Biden has also broken mask rules. Over Thanksgiving weekend, Biden was caught maskless at a Nantucket store that required customers to wear masks. Biden not only broke the store’s rules but also Nantucket’s mask mandate, which was reinstated days before Thanksgiving.

Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø

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