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Airline passengers walk at MSP. Photo: Anthony Souffle/Star Tribune via Getty Images

The Department of Transportation on Friday urged domestic and foreign airlines to refund passengers due to canceled or rescheduled flights amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Yes, but: The agency said it will not take enforcement action against airlines that provide vouchers or credits instead of a refund, provided that the airline promptly tells passengers they can get a refund, reminds its employees how refunds should be made, and updates its policies to make clear that it provides refunds.

  • The agency says it is giving airlines "an opportunity to become compliant" by taking the above steps.

The big picture: U.S. airlines are set to receive a $58 billion bailout from Congress as nearly 40 states have advised residents to stay in their homes and avoid unnecessary travel.

What they're saying: The agency says it is handling "an increasing number of complaints and inquiries from ticketed passengers" who say they have been denied refunds for canceled and delayed flights — and offered vouchers or credits for future travel instead.

Go deeper: A lifeline emerges for the devastated airline industry

Go deeper

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

The winners and losers of the pandemic holiday season

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The pandemic has upended Thanksgiving and the shopping season that the holiday kicks off, creating a new crop of economic winners and losers.

The big picture: Just as it has exacerbated inequality in every other facet of American life, the coronavirus pandemic is deepening inequities in the business world, with the biggest and most powerful companies rapidly outpacing the smaller players.

Coronavirus cases rose 10% in the week before Thanksgiving

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Sara Wise/Axios

The daily rate of new coronavirus infections rose by about 10 percent in the final week before Thanksgiving, continuing a dismal trend that may get even worse in the weeks to come.

Why it matters: Travel and large holiday celebrations are most dangerous in places where the virus is spreading widely — and right now, that includes the entire U.S.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled late Wednesday that restrictions previously imposed on New York places of worship by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) during the coronavirus pandemic violated the First Amendment.

Why it matters: The decision in a 5-4 vote heralds the first significant action by the new President Trump-appointed conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who cast the deciding vote in favor of the Catholic Church and Orthodox Jewish synagogues.