Aspen/Pitkin County Airport – Effective February 2, 2021 the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) implemented provisions for President Biden’s Executive Order on Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel by requiring travelers to wear face masks when they are in Airports. TSA’s action will also support the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Emergency Order requiring that individuals wear masks on conveyances and at stations, ports, or similar transportation hubs. This requirement will remain in effect until May 11, 2021.
According to the CDC Order, facemasks should cover the nose and mouth and fit snuggly against without gaps. Masks can be either manufactured or homemade and should be a solid piece of material without slits, exhalation valves, or punctures. While medical masks and N-95 respirators fulfill CDC and TSA’s requirements, face shields and/or goggles are not an acceptable substitute for the use of a mask; however, they may be used in addition to an acceptable mask.
Masks have been required and provided to visitors and staff since May of 2020 when the State of Colorado enacted a statewide mask order. Anyone over the age of 2 years old is required to be wearing a mask while visiting or traveling through the Airport.
“The TSA Order has not changed ASE’s current operating stance. ASE continues to remain compliant with Local, State, and Federal guidelines as we have since the pandemic began. Our commitment will not change as we have placed over 150 action items to ensure the Airport remains safe and to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. The Airport will continue to provide masks at Ticket Counters and Baggage Claim for no charge for the traveling public,” said Caroline Bonynge, Director of Operations Safety & ARFF.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued the attributes of masks needed to fulfill the requirements of the Order. CDC will update the guidance as necessary:
- A properly working mask must completely covering the nose and mouth.
- Cloth masks should be made with two or more layers of breathable fabric that is tightly woven. (i.e. fabrics that do not let light pass through when help up to a light source).
- Mask should be secured to the head with ties, ear loops, or elastic bands that go behind the head. If gaiters are worn, they should have two layers of fabric or be folded to make two layers.
- Mask should fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face.
- Mask should be a solid piece of material without slits, exhalation valves, or punctures.
The following attributes are additionally acceptable as long as masks meet the requirements above:
- Masks can be either manufactured or homemade.
- Masks can be reusable or disposable.
- Masks can have inner filter pockets.
- Clear masks or cloth masks with a clear plastic panel may be used to facilitate communication with people who are hearing impaired or others who need to see a speaker’s mouth to understand speech.
- Medical masks and N-95 respirators fulfill the requirements of the Order.
The following do not fulfill the requirements of the Order:
- Masks worn in a way that does not cover both the mouth and nose
- Face shields or goggles (face shields or goggles may be worn to supplement a mask that meets above required attributes)
- Scarves, ski masks, balaclavas, or bandannas
- Shirt or sweater collars (e.g., turtleneck collars) pulled up over the mouth and nose.
- Masks made from loosely woven fabric or that are knitted, i.e., fabrics that let light pass through
- Masks made from materials that are hard to breathe through (such as vinyl, plastic or leather)
- Masks containing slits, exhalation valves, or punctures
- Masks that do not fit properly (large gaps, too loose or too tight)
Additional guidance on how masks slow the spread of COVID-19 is available on the CDC website. Information regarding the current Pitkin County Public Health Order is available on the Pitkin County Website. For questions on the Airport’s efforts to stop the spread, please visit the Aspen Airport webpage for more information.