WASHINGTON — The Transportation Security Administration said Thursday it will start requiring workers at its screening checkpoints to wear masks during the coronavirus pandemic.
“TSA is making this change to protect our employees and travelers as social distancing cannot always be maintained in the screening process.” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske in a statement.
The measure will be implemented in the coming days, the agency said.
Six TSA workers have died after exposure to the virus, with the most recent happening at Chicago's O'Hare Airport, WGN reported Thursday. There reportedly have been 528 cases among TSA workers across the country.
Passengers are also being encouraged to wear face coverings, the TSA said. They may be asked to temporarily lower those coverings so they can be identified during screening or if something in the covering triggers an alarm.
Nearly every major U.S. airline has announced it will require passengers to wear masks from check-in through de-planing. Some implemeted the measure on Monday, with others expected to roll it out in the next week.