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What you need to know about Delta's mask requirement and who is exempt

Delta has banned more than 120 customers for not complying with their mask order.

ATLANTA — Delta Air Lines is strengthening its policy that requires customers to wear masks.

On July 23, Delta's CEO, Ed Bastain, issued a memo saying they want passengers who cannot wear a face-covering due to a health condition, "to complete a 'Clearance-To-Fly' process before they can travel."

"And we’re encouraging those who can’t wear masks to reconsider their travel altogether," Bastain's letter said. "Countless studies and medical experts have advised us that masks are an essential response to the virus that will help us reduce transmission."

It is a virtual consultation process completed at the airport to verify that the customer has a medical condition that prevents them from being able to safely wear a mask. It includes a medical consultation with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Back in May, the airline started requiring masks for its passengers and workers.

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Delta has banned more than 120 customers for not complying with their mask order. An example of Delta taking action on a flight happened just a few weeks ago, on July 23. Delta said the passengers were not following the mask requirement.

"Flight 1227 from Detroit to Atlanta returned to the gate following two customers who were non-compliant with crew instructions. After a short delay, the aircraft departed to Atlanta," a corporate communications representative told 11Alive.

Delta is also making sure its employees are also taking action. Bastain said they would build on testing events at its largest hubs and the Atlanta headquarters and would be introducing at-home testing for employees based elsewhere. 

"By testing 100 percent of our people, we’re establishing a baseline that helps us make critical decisions to protect everyone’s health and safety – our employees and our customers," the letter said. "We’re exploring additional programs and technology to make it easier for everyone to stay tested, notify us if they contract the virus, and enable contact tracing to identify those who may have been exposed and reduce transmission."

Delta said the implementation of these guidelines is part of the airline's greater approach to mitigating the spread of COVID-19