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Sea-Tac Airport will require face coverings starting May 18

Starting May 18, Sea-Tac will require everyone to wear some form of face covering.

Across America, the airline industry is in a holding pattern. At Sea-Tac International Airport, visits have dropped more than 90% since the start of the pandemic.

“There are about 18,000 airplanes that are grounded that were in airline service on March 1 that are not in service today,” said Scott Hamilton, an aviation industry expert

Travelers will face even more restrictions soon. ­Starting May 18, Sea-Tac will require everyone to wear some form of face covering. Something that many travelers have already been doing.

“It's probably a smart thing anyway once this thing passes. There’s always communicable diseases to be spread,” said David Huber, who arrived at Sea-Tac from Denver.  

Huber is among the 15-20% of passengers still flying.

“Right now, the airlines are in total survival mode,” Hamilton said.  

He says the industry is undergoing unprecedented losses.

“The mode that they’re in is trying to persuade passengers that it’s safe to fly.”

Alaska and Delta both released videos documenting the enhanced cleaning of passenger planes.

“They need to convince passengers that precautions are being taken to make the interior of the airplane still as germ-free as possible,” Hamilton said.

And don’t expect these changes to go anywhere anytime soon. Hamilton predicts the airline industry will feel the fallout of this virus for at least a decade to come.

“This is going to be a long-running continuing disaster that will unfold for the airline industry,” Hamilton said.  

Sea-Tac's face covering requirement will not apply to certain groups, including those who have a medical exemption and very young children. 

The new requirements go into effect on May 18.

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