United Airlines has updated its coronavirus-related personal protective equipment guidance. The company announced on Wednesday that the guidance now excludes face masks with built-in exhaust valves.
Face masks and other protective face coverings with an opening or vent near the nose or mouth area will not be allowed. This goes for both customers and United employees on the airline’s planes or terminals.
According to Fox Business, the update of United Airlines “comes the same day JetBlue announced it will also ban face masks and coverings with exhaust valves or vents. Delta Air Lines made its decision to prohibit the specified health care accessory last week.”
United Airlines joins coronavirus face mask valve ban | Fox Business## There’s no reported cases of COVID being expired through exhaust port; at same time, a reg face mask does not protect others either https://t.co/3ZSYsORA7k
— Jerry B Ammon (@jerry_ammon) August 6, 2020
“Respirators with exhalation valves protect the wearer from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19,” the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention PPE FAQ page explains. However, they “may not prevent the virus spreading from the wearer to others (that is, they may not be effective for source control).”
“Respirators with exhalation valves should not be used in situations where a sterile field must be maintained,” the CDC also explained. An example of which are invasive procedures in operating rooms. They cited that this is “because the exhalation valve may allow unfiltered exhaled air to escape into the sterile field.”
Customers that do not have a mask that the company approved will receive a complimentary disposable mask.