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Flight Attendants Urge Regulators to Require Passengers to Wear Masks

With many flight attendants themselves required to don face coverings, they say passengers must do the same and are calling for regulatory action.
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Flight attendants, who put themselves at grave risk of catching covid-19 by working, say that if they’re required to wear face masks, passengers should have to wear them, too.

Using a face covering mostly protects others from catching coronavirus from you, but it also helps prevent you from catching the virus from others.

United Airlines  (UAL)  said Thursday that flight attendants must deploy face coverings.

“We understand that many aspects of the flight attendant’s duties, both on and off the aircraft, can make practicing social distancing challenging, which is why this new initiative is so important,” the company said in a statement.

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At the same time, the Association of Flight Attendants, with a membership of more than 50,000, including the Chicago carrier's employees, asked regulators to mandate that travelers, too, don face coverings.

“As some of the most frequent travelers, flight attendants feel a deep responsibility to ensure that our workplace risks of acquiring and spreading communicable diseases are minimized as much as possible,” AFA President Sara Nelson wrote in a letter to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

With so many individuals unable and/or unwilling to travel because of the coronavirus pandemic, airlines have suffered huge losses. They are taking part in a government bailout to the tune of $25 billion.

Naturally, airline stocks have hit the skids. U.S. Global Jets ETF  (JETS) , which holds all the major U.S. carriers, has slumped 59% in the past three months, compared with a 16% slide for the S&P 500.

At last check United Airlines shares were off 3.5% at $24.81.