Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) will require all travelers to wear face masks in public spaces throughout the airport starting next Monday, July 27, after a governing board's vote on Monday afternoon.
That new requirement will make Minneapolis one of just a handful of airports across the country that make face coverings mandatory. It joins much larger airports like Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO), Washington, D.C.-Dulles (IAD), Phoenix (PHX), Charlotte (CLT), and Denver (DEN) in requiring face masks. Other airports have been subjected to city- or state-wide mask requirements.
But that's not the case in Minnesota. And like the majority of airports across the country, Minneapolis currently only encourages travelers to wear a mask – but stops short of requiring them. That will change next week.
Monday's vote makes face coverings mandatory throughout terminals and concourses, parking ramps, car rental facilities, trams and buses, and some outdoor spaces. Children under two, unaccompanied minors, and people with medical issues are exempted. Travelers can remove their masks to eat, drink, and take medication but are expected to promptly put them back in place.
Despite constant pleas from public health officials, airlines, and airport executives, federal regulators have shied away from setting down a nationwide air travel mask requirement. That has left it to airlines and airports alike to set their own policies.
National airport groups have asked lawmakers and federal regulators to change that.
“I can’t emphasize that enough — we would welcome regulations on a temporary basis that you should wear a mask in an airport when you’re transferring through it,” Airports Council International – North America President Kevin M. Burke said last month, according to The Hill. “If, in fact, you have to wear it on an airplane, you should be wearing it during your trip through the airport. You can infect as many people without a mask going through an airport as you would getting on an airplane.”
Anyone who violates Minneapolis airport's mask policy could be charged with a misdemeanor.
This is a breaking news story. Check back for more updates.