A global airline is no longer requiring passengers to wear face masks on some flights

SAS Scandinavian Airlines' Airbus A350-900 XWB - SAS Scandinavian Airlines Airbus A350-900 XWB Tour
A SAS Scandinavian Airlines’ Airbus A350-900 XWB.

  • Scandinavian Airlines will no longer require face masks on flights within Scandinavia.
  • Flights outside of Sweden, Denmark, and Norway will still have mask requirements.
  • Sweden, where Scandinavian Airlines has its headquarters, has taken a no-lockdown pandemic approach.

Scandinavian Airlines, also known as SAS, will no longer require passengers to wear face masks on flights within the Scandinavian countries of Sweden, Norway, and Denmark.

“Due to the opening of societies and general recommendations from authorities in Scandinavia, SAS is from 18 October 2021, removing the requirement for mandatory use of face masks on flights within Scandinavia,” the airline said on its website.

The flag carrier of the three Nordic nations is the largest global carrier to scrap the pandemic-era health safety policy for all passengers. Airlines around the world adopted the measure in the early months of the pandemic to stop the onboard spread of COVID-19.

Qatar Airways experimented with allowing business class passengers to only wear face masks at their discretion, as Insider reported in July 2020, but now requires all passengers to wear a face mask.

Travelers on SAS flights not within Scandinavia, however, will still have to wear masks as the airline says it will follow European Union Aviation Safety Agency recommendations for face masks on non-intra-Scandinavian flights.

“However, SAS will be following recommendations from EASA regarding mandatory use of face masks on other SAS flights, operating outside Denmark, Norway, and Sweden,” the airline also said.

Flights to non-European destinations including the US will still also keep existing face mask requirements. “SAS maintains the requirement to use face masks onboard flights to other European and intercontinental destinations until further notice,” the airline said.

Scandinavian Airlines’ home country of Sweden has faced the largest number of COVID-19 cases out of any other Nordic country. A total of 1,160,453 cases have been reported in Sweden, according to the World Health Organization, which is more than the cumulative cases of Denmark and Norway combined.

Sweden’s no-lockdown approach to COVID-19 was widely criticized but the country’s chief epidemiologist has hailed the approach as a success with lower excess mortality rates than some other European countries that chose lockdowns, as Insider’s Dr. Marianne Guenot reported.

Reported COVID-19 cases and deaths in Sweden have been on the decline following a recent spike that peaked in early September, according to World Health Organization data. Norway experienced a similar spike in late August that is similarly receding.

Denmark, however, has seen an increase in reported COVID-19 cases since late September that has not drastically subsided. Daily cases on October 11, the most recent data point the World Health Organization has listed, shows 2,484 cases but says the data for that date might be incomplete.

In terms of vaccinations, Reuters data shows that Sweden has administered 14,103,587 doses, or enough to vaccinate 68.6% of its population, while Norway has administered 7,890,409 doses, or enough to vaccinate 73.8% of its population. Denmark leads the pack with 8,811,494 doses administered, or enough to have 75.7% of its population vaccinated.

Scandinavian Airlines’ policy also applies to unvaccinated flyers.

In the US, air travelers are set to be wearing face masks into 2022. The Transportation Security Administration under President Joe Biden in August extended the country’s face mask requirement onboard airplanes through January 18, 2022, after two extensions early in 2021.

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Biden’s Education Dept. just launched a civil rights investigation into 5 Republican states banning masks in school

A sign reads 'Please wear a face mask' in a classroom.
A sign reads ‘Please wear a face mask’ in a classroom.

  • The US Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights is probing five states over mask bans.
  • It’s investigating bans in Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah, all governed by Republicans.
  • The question is, are they keeping high-risk students from “safely accessing in-person education.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The US Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights is investigating whether indoor mask bans in five states prevent students with disabilities who are at a heightened risk for COVID-19 from “safely accessing in-person education.”

The office sent letters to state education leaders in Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah to inform them their state mask bans were being investigated.

“National data also show that children with some underlying medical conditions, including those with certain disabilities, are at higher risk than other children for experiencing severe illness from COVID-19,” Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Suzanne Goldberg wrote to each of the five states. “At the same time, extensive evidence supports the universal use of masks over the nose and mouth to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.”

The US Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in a statement that his department had heard from concerned parents who feared their students with disabilities or underlying health conditions weren’t receiving equal access to learning.

“It’s simply unacceptable that state leaders are putting politics over the health and education of the students they took an oath to serve,” he said in the statement. “The Department will fight to protect every student’s right to access in-person learning safely and the rights of local educators to put in place policies that allow all students to return to the classroom full-time in-person safely this fall.”

The civil rights office said it was not launching investigations into Florida, Texas, Arkansas or Arizona – which all have attempted to implement mask bans – because those bans are not being enforced due to court orders “or other state actions.”

Last week, President Joe Biden asked Cardona to look into legal action that can be taken against schools banning the use of masks as the Delta variant surges. If the investigations find that state mask bans have discriminated against students with disabilities, those states could lose federal education funding.

Throughout the pandemic, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has taken extreme positions against some public-health measures ahead of school reopenings, such as signing an order that would strip funding from schools that required mask-wearing and another that banned vaccine passports in the state.

Insider reported last week that a judge struck down DeSantis’s mask mandates ban, saying the ban was unconstitutional and DeSantis did so “without legal authority,” which is why Florida will not be included in the investigations.

Failure to wear a mask has put those who are immunocompromised at greater risk during the pandemic. An 88-year-old professor recently resigned in the middle of a lecture because a student of his refused to wear a mask properly, even after explaining that he had type 2 diabetes, which put him at higher risk for COVID-19.

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CDC director says decision to recommend masks again ‘weighed heavily’ on her

Walenski CDC US
r. Rochelle Walensky, now director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), removes her mask to speak as Joe Biden announces nominees and appointees to serve on his health and coronavirus response teams during a news conference at his transition headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., December 8, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

  • CDC Director Rochelle Walensky defended her agency’s decision to shift its guidance on masking.
  • “This was not news that I expected the American people to welcome,” she said on Fox News.
  • The CDC this week recommended that fully vaccinated people mask up in areas of high transmission.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky on Friday defended her agency’s decision this week to recommend that fully vaccinated people wear face masks in public months after the agency recommended the opposite.

“This was not news that I expected the American people to welcome. This weighed heavily on me to have to do this,” Walensky said during a Friday appearance on Fox News.

“I have no interest in continuing mask guidance, and the best way to stop a new variant from spreading is to have less virus out there and the best way to do that is to get people vaccinated and to mask up until they are,” she added.

The agency changed its guidance on wearing masks this week, recommending that individuals in areas of the US with a high spread of the disease wear masks regardless of their vaccination status. It also said that students and staff in K-12 schools should mask up this fall even if they’ve been vaccinated.

CDC officials linked the new guidance to the surge of cases propelled by the more contagious Delta variant of the disease, which is now the dominant COVID-19 strain in the US. There were more than 122,000 new COVID-19 cases reported in the US on Friday – a five-month high.

While fully vaccinated individuals can contract and spread the disease, the COVID-19 vaccines are effective in preventing serious illness and death against the variant. According to data from the CDC, 49.5% of people in the US are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, while 57.4% of people in the US are at least partially vaccinated.

The announcement this week was at odds with previous CDC guidance announced in May when the agency said fully vaccinated people could go without masks in nearly all indoor and outdoor settings. It still recommended that unvaccinated individuals continue to wear their masks in indoor settings.

That guidance came months after the agency in February recommended double masking to further boost protection from COVID-19 before vaccines were widely available.

Walensky previously said the change this week was a result of new information on the transmission of the highly contagious Delta variant.

“Information on the Delta variant from several states and other countries indicates that, on rare occasions, some vaccinated people infected with the Delta variant after vaccination may be contagious and spread the virus to others,” she said Tuesday.

“This new science is worrisome and unfortunately warrants an update to our recommendations,” she added.

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signs bill that would strip schools of funding for imposing a mask mandate for students

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis raises his hand.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, seen here at a July press conference, signed an order prohibiting schools from requiring masks.

  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday signed an order prohibiting schools in the state from mandating masks.
  • Florida schools that implement a mask mandate run the risk of losing state funding.
  • The move came days after the CDC recommended that students and staff mask up when they return to classes.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, signed an executive order Friday that prohibits schools in the state from requiring students to wear face masks when they return to classrooms in the fall.

The executive order, released Friday, is “effective immediately” and directs the Florida Departments of Health and Education to release emergency rules that stipulate that decisions over whether students will be masked in classrooms will be left up to parents rather than school officials.

According to the order, schools that do not comply with the directives from the Education and Health Departments run the risk of losing funding from the state.

“We think that’s the most fair way to do it,” DeSantis said Friday at an event at an Italian restaurant in Cape Coral, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.

“The federal government has no right to tell parents that in order for their kids to attend school in person, they must be forced to wear a mask all day, every day,” DeSantis said in a press release announcing the order.

“Many Florida schoolchildren have suffered under forced masking policies, and it is prudent to protect the ability of parents to make decisions regarding the wearing of masks by their children,” he added.

DeSantis’ order Friday comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week recommended that students and staff at K-12 schools wear masks in the classroom regardless of their vaccination status, as Insider previously reported.

Read more: Internal CDC document warns ‘the war has changed’ with the more infectious Delta variant

The American Academy of Pediatrics also this month recommended that students and staff – regardless of vaccinations – mask up in schools this fall.

The CDC guidance came amid a broader shift at the agency, which this week recommended that fully vaccinated individuals mask up indoors in areas of the US with high levels of COVID-19 transmission. The CDC in May said that fully vaccinated individuals could ditch their masks in most settings.

The changes, the CDC said, were due to the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant of the disease, which is at least partially responsible for the ongoing surge of cases in the US.

“Information on the Delta variant from several states and other countries indicates that, on rare occasions, some vaccinated people infected with the Delta variant after vaccination may be contagious and spread the virus to others,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said Tuesday. “This new science is worrisome and unfortunately warrants an update to our recommendations.”

The US on Friday reported more than 122,000 new cases of the disease, according to data analyzed by The New York Times – the highest single-day increase in more than five months. The state of Florida this week neared its worst COVID-19 week of all time, reporting more than 110,000 new infections over the past seven days, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The CDC still recommends face masks for those who aren’t yet vaccinated – here are the best places to find them online

When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Etsy face mask
  • It’s been over a year since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic.
  • Vaccines are becoming more available, but the CDC recommends that unvaccinated people wear masks.
  • We rounded up the all of best places to buy them, how to properly wear them, and how to clean them.
  • This article was medically reviewed by Aimee Desrosiers, PA-C, MS, MPH, a practicing infectious diseases physician assistant in Washington, DC.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

It’s been a year and four months since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Although vaccination numbers are increasing daily, it is still super important to have proper face masks. According to the CDC, it’s recommended that unvaccinated people continue to wear face masks in public. It’s also worth noting that some places like public transportation and private businesses may require you to wear a mask regardless of vaccination status.

To help you stay healthy, we rounded up all of the articles we’ve written about cloth face masks so far. Below, you’ll find the best places to buy them online as well as what to look for and how to wear them effectively.

Where to buy cloth face masks online:

Etsy

Etsy

Check out the highest-rated options on Etsy here

Etsy has a large selection of homemade masks for sale. It’s a great place to find quality cloth face masks if you haven’t found one by a well-known name brand that you like. Buying from Etsy is also a great way to support small businesses.

Amazon

3M

Check out affordable cloth face masks for adults and children on Amazon here

Amazon offers a handful of brand name masks, along with generic face masks in large bulk and one-time use surgical masks. Previously, Amazon limited purchasing surgical masks and other medical-grade equipment to verified healthcare workers, but as supply and demand have evened out, you can now pick them up here too.

Uniqlo

uniqlo airism mask

Read our full review on the Uniqlo Airism Face Mask here

The Uniqlo Airism Face Mask was a major hit when it launched in Japan early last year. By the end of 2020, it became available in the United States — and it was clear why they were so popular. The masks are lightweight, breathable, and washable. They’re great for wearing in hot weather as well as for double-masking over a surgical mask. They’re available in sizes for adults and kids.

Everlane

everlane mask

See all of Everlane’s face masks here

Everlane makes a variety of face masks, from basic cotton options that are great for running quick errands to more fitted options with a contoured nose. The masks are sold in packs of two, three, or five, and each purchase benefits the ACLU.

Best face masks we’ve personally tested

Vida face masks

Here are the best face masks we’ve tested

Over the past year, we’ve collectively worn a bunch of masks, whether for personal use or for product reviews. Here, you’ll find all of our favorites and why we like them.

Best masks for double masking and how to do it

Uniqlo Airism Mask

Read our full explainer on double-masking here

According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, doubling up on face masks is a good idea and “makes common sense.”

If you already have single-use surgical masks, you should still invest in a good cloth face mask for doubling up. Here, we’ve rounded up the best masks for double-masking and a full explainer on why it’s a good practice.

Kids’ face masks

Cubcoats face mask

Find affordable cloth face masks for kids here

In some instances, kids need masks too. If you’re searching for masks that fit the faces of your little ones well, you’ll find many affordable options here.

Lightweight face masks

Old Navy

Check out lightweight, breathable face masks to help you stay safe on hot summer days here

If you’re particularly interested in masks that are easy to wear in the summer, you’ll want to go with one of these lightweight options. Materials like linen or lightweight cotton are still protective but a bit more comfortable to wear in the heat. 

Best face masks for working out and running

Best Face Mask 4x3

Find the best face masks for working out and running here

Whether you’re working out outdoors or in a gym operating at minimal capacity, you’ll want to wear a mask that’s breathable and secure. These are the best options for running and workouts.

Stylish face masks

vida face mask

Check out the brands making stylish, reusable cloth face masks here.

Many of your favorite brands in the textile industry (including those that normally make clothes, shoes, bags, bedding, and more) are using some of their resources to produce masks. Whether you’re a brand loyalist, you want a mask that matches some of your other wearable items, or you simply want a mask from a brand you’re familiar with, you’ll find it here.

How to solve common annoyances associated with face masks

Etsy face mask

Common annoyances that come with wearing a face mask — and how to solve them responsibly

From eating and drinking to concealing your mouth from those who read lips, there are some annoyances that come with wearing masks. Fortunately, there are also solutions to these problems — and none of them include skipping a mask altogether. 

Should I wear a mask even if I’m vaccinated?

Vaccine distribution

According to the CDC, people are considered fully vaccinated:

  • Two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
  • Two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine

If it has been less than two weeks since your single-dose shot, or if you still need to get your second dose of a two-dose vaccine, you are not fully protected and should continue all safety precautions outlined by the CDC.

Why is it important to wear a face mask?

Everlane Face Mask

Wearing a face mask decreases the likelihood of you potentially transmitting the virus, but if everyone in the community around you wears a mask, then it decreases the likelihood of them transmitting it to you.

According to the CDC’s most recent estimates, 40% of people infected with the new coronavirus may be asymptomatic or presymptomatic. 

Whether you’re asymptomatic, pre-symptomatic, or showing mild symptoms that could be brushed off as a common cold, there’s still a possibility you’ve contracted the new coronavirus and can unknowingly spread it to others. For this reason, the CDC recommends that everyone, not just those who show symptoms, wear a face mask outside the home.

Note that cloth face masks are not medical grade and that additions like filters have not been proven to be any safer or more effective. 

What to look for in a face mask, according to the CDC

A snug fit that sits comfortably against the side of the face and does not gap; ties or ear loops that keep it secure; completely covers the nose and mouth, and fits securely under the chin; two or more layers of fabric; breathability without restriction; and the ability to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to its shape.

How to measure your face for a face mask

While most masks are designed to fit most faces, some will come in more specific sizes like small, medium, and large. If you’re stumped on which size to order, the best way to figure it out is to measure your face and then choose based on the brand’s size chart. You’ll want to use a garment tape measure to get these two measurements:

Measurement #1: Across your face — Going over the bridge of your nose and under your eyes, measure the width of your face.

Measurement #2: From nose to chin — Start from the bridge of your nose and go down to the bottom of your chin.

How to properly wear a face mask, as recommended by CDC’s Dr. Paige Armstrong

 

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Costco will no longer require fully vaccinated customers to wear masks in stores, except in states that still have mask mandates

Costco
A Costco store in Mount Prospect, Illinois.

  • Costco announced that it will no longer require fully vaccinated customers to wear face masks.
  • However, the policy change only applies to locations without state or local mask mandates.
  • All customers will still be required to wear a mask in Costco’s healthcare departments.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Costco announced on Friday that it will no longer require masks for vaccinated customers in some states.

The company posted an updated mask policy on its website following Thursday’s announcement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that fully vaccinated people can stop wearing masks both outdoor and indoors, with some exceptions.

Costco said that in locations with no state or local mask requirements, customers who are fully vaccinated can enter the store without a face mask or shield. The retailer said it will not ask for proof of vaccination.

At stores in areas that still have state or local mask mandates, Costco said it will continue to require customers to wear a mask, with the exception of children under the age of 2.

At all locations, face coverings will still be required in the Pharmacy, Optical, and Hearing Aid departments, per CDC guidance.

“Costco continues to recommend that all members and guests, especially those who are at higher risk, wear a mask or shield,” the company said.

Costco tightened its policy around face coverings last November amid a surge in COVID cases nationwide. The company announced at the time that all shoppers, even those with medical conditions, would be required to cover their faces in its stores. When Costco instituted its mask policy in May 2020, it initially said people with conditions that prevented them from wearing a mask could go without a face covering. However, anti-maskers often used medical conditions as an excuse to go without face coverings in public places.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Fauci said it’s ‘quite possible’ people will continue wearing masks during ‘seasonal periods’ to prevent the flu

Dr. Fauci
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, adjusts a face mask during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on the federal coronavirus response on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, March 18, 2021.

  • Face masks might become a “seasonal” item for Americans, Dr. Anthony Fauci said.
  • People may elect to wear them during flu season to prevent transmission.
  • The US had a relatively mild flu season this year, likely due to COVID-19 prevention measures.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the longtime director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, predicted Sunday that face masks may become a common “seasonal” item in the fight against the seasonal flu.

Fauci, the chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, made the remarks on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” when moderator Chuck Todd asked “at what point” people should “take the masks off.”

Read more: Inside Capitol Hill’s weed culture where congressional staffers light up freely

“Is the mask going to be something we have with us in a seasonal aspect?” Todd asked.

Fauci said that was “quite possible.”

“I think people have gotten used to the fact that wearing masks, clearly, if you look at the data, diminishes respiratory diseases,” he said. “We’ve had practically a non-existent flu season this year merely because people were doing the kinds of public health things that were directed predominantly against COVID-19.”

As Insider’s Aylin Woodward previously reported, the US this year experienced an extremely mild flu season, even as experts last year feared that the seasonal flu could overwhelm healthcare systems already faced with the pandemic.

But between October 1 last year and January 30, there were just 155 hospitalizations in the US for the flu compared to 8,633 during roughly the same time frame the year prior, as Insider previously reported.

“The Australians during their winter, same thing,” Fauci said Sunday. “They had almost no flu largely due to the kinds of things including mask-wearing.

“So it is conceivable that as we go on, a year or two or more from now, that during certain seasonal periods when you have respiratory-borne viruses like the flu, people might actually elect to wear masks to diminish the likelihood that you’ll spread these respiratory-borne diseases,” he added.

Despite their effectiveness, masks have remained at the center of the longstanding partisan divides about COVID-19. At the end of April, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated their mask-wearing guidance, relaxing guidelines for wearing them outdoor, particularly for people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Tucker Carlson called mask-wearing ‘repulsive’ and said parents forcing their children to wear masks in public should be reported for ‘child abuse’

Tucker-Carlson
Fox News host Tucker Carlson raged against face masks on Monday night.

  • Fox News host Tucker Carlson called the sight of kids wearing masks “repulsive” and a form of “child abuse.”
  • He advocated for people to call the police or Child Protective Services if they see children wearing masks on his Monday night show.
  • Carlson called mask-wearers liberal “zealots” and “neurotics” and goaded viewers into mocking them.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Fox News host Tucker Carlson raged against the idea of wearing face masks on Monday night, telling his viewers to openly mock those they see wearing masks outside.

“Your response when you see children wearing masks as they play should be no different from your response to seeing someone beat a kid in Walmart. Call the police immediately. Contact Child Protective Services. Keep calling until someone arrives,” Carlson said.

“What you’re looking at is abuse, it’s child abuse, and you are morally obligated to attempt to prevent it.”

He also called the sight of a child wearing masks “repulsive,” and a form of child abuse, referencing statements made by general practitioner Mary Harrow, who told a Colorado education board on Monday that face masks can “cause low oxygen and high carbon dioxide levels” and “create fear, anxiety, and headaches.”

The idea that masks can lower oxygen levels has been debunked.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people are still encouraged to wear masks in public settings, at events, gatherings, and anywhere that they will be around other people, as a mask is known to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The Biden administration is likely to implement new guidance on mask-wearing outside for fully vaccinated people soon, but White House chief medical advisor Anthony Fauci says people should continue to abide by public health measures until the CDC makes a further assessment.

But the Fox News host appeared to take issue with the concept of mask-wearing in general, calling masks a sign of political obedience, like “Kim Il-Sung pins in Pyongyang.”

Carlson also said that liberals who wore masks were “zealots” and “neurotics,” saying that mask-wearing was indicative of an “actual mental health condition.”

“So the next time you see someone in a mask on the sidewalk or on the bike path, do not hesitate. Ask politely but firmly, ‘Would you please take off your mask? Science shows there is no reason for you to be wearing it. Your mask is making me uncomfortable,” Carlson suggested.

“We should do that and we should keep doing it until wearing a mask outside is roughly as socially accepted as lighting a Marlboro on an elevator,” he said.

Insider has reached out to Fox News for comment.

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Arizona businesses will be allowed to opt-out and ignore mask orders under law signed by GOP Gov. Doug Ducey

Arizona face mask
Usher Kathy Stock wears a face shield and mask as she waits for fans to enter the MLB spring training game in February in Arizona.

  • Arizona businesses can soon opt out of local orders requiring masks under a new law.
  • The bill was signed into law by GOP Gov. Doug Ducey on Friday.
  • Ducey never instituted a statewide mandate and in March signed an executive order that said localities couldn’t do so, either.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Businesses in Arizona can soon elect to opt out of any city, county, or state order requiring face masks in their establishments after Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill into law Friday.

Under the law, businesses can still elect to enforce mask mandates for their customers, but they can no longer be compelled to by any city, county, or even state order to do so.

“I am signing this bill, ensuring that our small businesses will no longer be required to enforce mandates imposed on them by their cities who are choosing not to enforce it themselves,” Ducey, a Republican, said Friday, according to a report from Arizona Central.

While Ducey signed the bill Friday, it won’t go into effect until 90 days after the Arizona legislature concludes its session. According to AZ Central, that date is different each year, meaning whether businesses will be at present be required to follow local orders isn’t clear.

While Ducey’s office says a March 26 executive order by the governor made it illegal for localities to enact their own mask mandates, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said later in March counties were still able to enforce mask mandates under a provision of the state’s Emergency Management Code.

Brnovich, also a Republican, said the code’s provision allowing counties to “investigate all nuisances, source of filth and causes of sickness and make regulations necessary for the public health and safety of the inhabitants” supersedes executive orders by the state governor.

According to KAWC, a spokesperson for Ducey said the attorney general’s informal legal opinion on the local public health measures was “inconsequential” because local governments were unable to effectively enforce their mask mandates even when they were “most necessary” earlier during the pandemic.

Ducey never issued a statewide mask order during the pandemic, even though public health experts stressed – and continue to stress – their effectiveness in stemming the spread of COVID-19.

“Our largest cities opted not to enforce their mandates, leaving the responsibility up to local businesses,” Ducey said Friday. “I understand the concern and heartache this caused for many of these businesses.”

According to AZ Central, Phoenix, Tempe, Tucson, Flagstaff, and Pima County in the state continue to require face masks in public areas.

Ducey signed the bill into law even though he acknowledged the bill’s language could inadvertently pose challenges for the enforcement of laws that require the wearing of masks in situations unrelated to COVID-19, like when workers handle harmful materials, according to the report.

“Some rational mask requirements that are not related to the spread of COVID-19 may not be enforceable,” the governor said. “The state needs to be able to enforce long-standing workplace safety and infection control standards unrelated to COVID-19.”

The state representative who authored the bill said he would amend the legislation’s language before the end of the current session to fix that portion, the AZ Central reported.

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A private pilot has offered a free round trip to Austin to a family who were booted off a Southwest Airlines flight, after their toddler couldn’t keep his mask on

harvey family
The Harveys were offered a private flight to Austin.

  • A Facebook video shows a family being kicked off a Southwest flight over a mask incident.
  • The family was told to leave when their toddler refused to keep his mask on.
  • A private pilot and old friend learned of the incident and offered them a free flight.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Earlier this month, a family was ordered to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after their two-year-old could not keep his face mask on.

Now, a Good Samaritan has stepped in to help them reach their intended destination at no extra cost, The New York Post reported.

Erik Harvey, his wife Michelle, and their toddler Jackson were all ready to fly from Denver to Austin on April 1 through Southwest Airlines, Fox News reported.

Aware of the federal regulations for all flight passengers over the age of two, the parents knew their son was required to cover his face for the duration of the flight.

“I practiced with him at least two or three times at the house and every time he threw it off, but I figured that [Southwest] would work with us on the plane because he’s 2,” Michelle Harvey told Fox 7.

When the family boarded the flight, Jackson was wearing his mask. “Everything was going swimmingly … until it wasn’t. That’s when Jackson threw off the mask and “was done wearing it.”

“The flight attendant comes over and she says, ‘Ma’am he’s not wearing his mask, you’re gonna have to leave the plane,'” Erik Harvey said.

James Peck, an old friend and private pilot, spotted a social media video about the family’s experience and decided to offer them a private flight to Austin at no cost, per Fox 7.

“I knew that I could use that as a great excuse to go take a flight and help them out and get them here,” Peck said. He has even offered to fly the Harveys back to Denver after their trip ends.

Acknowledging the selfless deed, Harvey told Fox News: “The miracles will come to you, things will show up, and that Good Samaritan will show up.”

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