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Coronavirus-related federal airline health regulations would help "increase confidence in aviation" and keep passengers and essential workers safe, international president of the Association of Flight Attendants Sara Nelson stated Friday.
In an interview on "Fox & Friends" with host Steve Doocy, Nelson explained why she sent out a tweet this week calling for mandated masks in airports and on airplanes.
"ENOUGH!" she wrote along with a picture of a packed plane with bare-faced passengers. "This was TODAY on a four hour flight. This is not okay. Masks must be mandated by DOT/HHS in airports and on airplanes. Essential travel only, with proper PPE. #COVID19 #StopTheSpread"
"Absolutely we are worried about safety. And we are also worried about public confidence in aviation. So, as we have pulled down flights with demand going to rock bottom, we have fewer planes in the air ... and that has created these full flights," she explained.
"And, what we have heard from health officials is that if everyone is wearing a mask it helps to stop the spread, you know?" Nelson noted.
"The people [who] I represent – flight attendants – have to go to work. They're essential workers. And, we don't have access to the N95 masks that would help keep us safe," she continued. "But, if everyone wears a mask it will help to keep all of us safe and it will increase confidence in aviation so that people will buy tickets when we can get to the other side of this."
As of April 30, United Airlines, Delta Airlines, American Airlines, JetBlue Airlines, and Frontier Airlines have all joined together in requiring masks for every person on their flights.
"We wrote a letter a week ago to HSS and DOT asking for the government to mandate this/ And, you are right, [it] would have been in line with CDC regulations. So...what the airlines have done is followed that guidance now and they are making this policy," Nelson told Doocy. "But, I think that we can have some more clarity still from our government so that when people hit the door of the airport we are really from start to finish having everyone with masks to help all of us be safe."
"We are all in this together. And, it's going to take all of us to get through it. And, if we are all doing this, we can increase confidence in starting to return to a normal economy. So, this is important for safety and it's also important for our continued business," she remarked.
"For the most part, they have suspended aisle service to cut down on the contact between people and some of the airlines have started to put in place social distancing policies so that we have extra space on the planes," Nelson added.
"I actually expect all of them to be doing this so that, for a period of time until we have a vaccine that's readily available, we have the ability to separate people and use social distancing and the masks and deep cleaning and all these other things to help regain confidence in the public and make sure we all stay safe in aviation," she concluded.