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Delta has banned nearly 550 people for not wearing masks

Delta has banned nearly 550 people for not wearing masks
© Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Delta's no-fly list now includes almost 550 passengers who refused to wear a mask on a flight during the coronavirus pandemic, CEO Ed Bastian told employees in a memo Thursday.

“We’ve now added a total of nearly 550 people to our no-fly list for refusing to comply with Delta’s mask requirement on board. Fortunately, that number represents a tiny fraction of our overall customers, the vast majority of whom follow our guidelines and appreciate the steps we are taking to keep them safe and healthy,” he wrote.

Still, the number of names on the no-fly list is a significant increase from late July, when Bastian said more than 100 people were prohibited from flying on Delta. The airline has been requiring passengers to wear masks on flights since May 1.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this week said masks not only protect the general public from COVID-19, but also protect the mask-wearer.

"Adopting universal masking policies can help avert future lockdowns, especially if combined with other non-pharmaceutical interventions such as social distancing, hand hygiene, and adequate ventilation," the CDC said in its strongest endorsement of the effectiveness of masks.

Bastian on Thursday called on employees to keep assessing their own health for COVID-19 symptoms before going to work each day.

“Please continue to conduct a self-assessment every day for symptoms before coming into work and remember mask-wearing continues to be essential and required,” Bastian wrote.

Airlines for America, which represents major U.S. airlines including Delta, warned in June that customers could be put on a carrier's do-not-fly list if they refuse to wear a face mask on planes.