United will require flight attendants to wear masks or face coverings while on duty

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BURLINGAME, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 06: A United Airlines plane prepares to take off from San Francisco International Airport on March 06, 2020 in Burlingame, California. In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, airlines are facing significant losses as people are cancelling travel plans and businesses are restricting travel. Southwest Airlines says they expect to lose between $200 to $300 million dollars in the coming weeks. Other airlines like United and Jet Blue are cutting flights. The International Air Transport Association predicts that carriers could lose between $63 billion and $113 billion this year. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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United will require flight attendants to wear face coverings or masks while they’re on duty starting April 24th, according to an employee memo the airline shared with CNN.

The carrier, which says it’s the first major US carrier to adopt the requirement, says it will begin with 20 masks onboard each aircraft serving domestic routes and 40 on international ones.

United will not replenish the supply after every flight–rather, it will do so “as needed and as supplies permit,” said the airline.

Flight attendants also will have the option of to wear their own face coverings or use the ones United provides.

United noted that the requirement “is in line” with CDC recommendations that people wear face coverings when social distancing isn’t possible.

The airline made the decision in partnership with the Association of Flight Attendants, according to the memo.

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