Apr 21, 2022 - COVID

Most airline travelers at Denver airport shed their masks

Illustration of a mask-shaped cloud through an airplane window.
Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

The vast majority of travelers at Denver International Airport wasted no time shedding their COVID-era face masks despite recommendations from public health experts to keep them.

State of play: Just days after the Transportation Security Administration lifted its mandate and many airlines made masks optional, air travel looked like pre-pandemic times.

  • Roughly 10% of travelers and employees at the airport — the world's third busiest — continued to wear face coverings Wednesday, John found as he boarded a flight.

The big picture: The question of whether to wear a mask in transit is just the latest issue to divide America.

What they're saying: Pam Clift of Aurora told us she decided to keep wearing one because she's flying to see her elderly parents.

  • A physician's assistant at Kaiser, she said she plans to continue donning a mask in large crowds because she's seen "how bad it can be."

The other side: Tim Orr, who passed through DIA on his way from Indiana to Arizona on his first trip "in a long time," said he felt comfortable without one, citing the lifting of local mandates months earlier.

  • Passengers on a Denver-bound Delta flight Monday cheered when they learned the mandate was lifted, Denverite reported.

Be smart: The latest Omicron subvariant BA.2 is highly transmissible and experts are worried about poor ventilation in packed trams, jetways and planes when passengers sit on the tarmac.

  • Many public health officials still recommend wearing a respirator mask.
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