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MSP Airport will require face masks be worn in public spaces from next week

Airlines already require travelers wear masks on planes.

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport will require visitors to wear face masks in public spaces starting Monday.

The Metropolitan Airports Commission approved the resolution to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at a meeting on Monday.

It applies "in all public spaces at the airport, including outdoor locations where individuals cannot reliably maintain at least six feet of physical distance from others."

It also applies in terminals, parking ramps, shuttle buses, trams, and rental car facilities. There are exemptions for those who can't wear them due for health, safety or disability reasons, and they can also be taken off while eating or drinking in the terminal.

Children aged under 2, or unaccompanied minors 12 and younger aren't required to wear them.

The airport becomes the latest Minnesota business, city, or organization to implement a mandatory face mask policy.

“Based on the recommendation of health care experts, for nearly two months, we have strongly encouraged everyone to wear face coverings in all public areas of MSP," said MAC CEO Brian Ryks.

"As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in many places around the nation, it is clear that face coverings along with social distancing and frequent hand washing or sanitizing are key to keep ourselves and those around us safer."

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Ryks notes that airlines already require face masks be worn on flights, as are more and more airports. He says the policy will "provide consistency for people traveling from airport to airport."

Free face masks will be available from information booths in MSP terminals, while stores in the airport also sell hand sanitizer, gloves, and disinfectant wipes.

The airline industry has been hugely impacted by the pandemic, with routes slashed amid a downturn in travel demand as work-from-home measures were introduced, while travel bans between the U.S. and numerous countries remain in place.

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