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Masks are now required for travelers at Dulles, Reagan National airports

For travelers at BWI airport, face coverings are recommended but not required.

A passenger walks past American Airlines check-in terminals at Reagan National Airport in May. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images)
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Starting Friday, all passengers and visitors will be required to wear face coverings at Reagan National and Dulles International airports.

Children under the age of 10 and people who have medical conditions that prevent them from wearing face coverings will be exempted from the requirement, airport officials said.

The shift in policy is designed to bring the airports in line with Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s (D) mandate that protective face coverings be worn in public spaces. Previously, masks had been recommended but not required at the two airports. Employees, tenants and contractors at the airports, however, have been required to wear masks since May 18.

Masks also are required for employees and contractors at Baltimore-Washington International Marshall Airport and are strongly recommended but not required for members of the public.

Face coverings are just one of a number of ways public health officials are working to control the spread of the coronavirus, which has killed more than 100,000 people in the United States. At airports, officials have installed additional hand sanitizer stations, increased cleaning and implemented social distancing measures, using floor decals and signs to remind people where they should stand.

Travelers are permitted to wear masks when passing through security checkpoints at Reagan National and Dulles, but may be asked by Transportation Security Administration officers to remove them briefly for the purposes of identification. In addition, TSA officials also are allowing travelers to bring containers of hand sanitizer of up to 12 ounces with them when they travel.

Many airlines are also now requiring that travelers wear masks when interacting with gate agents and onboard the airplane.