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Published in Economic Development
Masks now optional for travelers, employees at Gerald R. Ford International Airport FILE PHOTO

Masks now optional for travelers, employees at Gerald R. Ford International Airport

BY Tuesday, April 19, 2022 12:11pm

Masks are now optional for passengers and visitors at Gerald R. Ford International Airport following a federal court ruling and announcement that the Transportation Security Administration will no longer require mask use.  

A federal district judge in Florida on Monday struck down federal mask requirements on planes, trains, buses and other public transportation. Since then, airports across the country as well as major airlines such as Delta and American Airlines have shed their mask mandates.

Effective immediately, masks are optional at Gerald R. Ford International Airport for all employees, passengers and guests, according to airport officials. 

The airport encourages all travelers to make the best decision for their health, said Haley Abbas, marketing and communications manager at the airport. 

The airport encourages travelers to check with their airline carrier regarding their specific mask mandates. Masks will still be available at terminal entrances for those who choose to wear one, Abbas said. 

“We’ll continue to monitor this rapidly evolving situation and communicate any updates on federal requirements and public health guidance as they occur,” Abbas said in a statement to MiBiz

U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle said the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s mask requirement exceeded the agency’s authority. Biden administration officials have said the CDC’s order is no longer in effect pending a legal review.

In July 2020, the Grand Rapids airport launched a “Fly Safe. Fly Ford.” campaign highlighting what officials at the time anticipated would be long-term changes at the airport, such as continuous cleaning protocols, limiting contact between travelers and employees, and installing new HVAC equipment to improve indoor air quality.

In December 2021, airport President and CEO Tory Richardson told MiBiz that passenger travel had rebounded to about 80 percent of pre-pandemic levels, driven primarily by leisure travelers.

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