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ICAS: US Air Shows May Request Exception To TSA Mask Requirement

Many Air Shows Have Successfully Explained That These Mask Requirements Were Never Intended For Them

The International Council of AirShows is reporting that as air shows throughout the United States continue their planning for events later this summer, some are bumping into a potentially disruptive TSA mandate that requires all individuals at federally-funded airports to wear protective masks while on airport property.

Although many air shows have successfully explained that these mask requirements were never intended to apply to outdoor air shows, the issue has caused some confusion.

ICAS advises all air shows to request that TSA consider an "Alternative Measure" to the mask requirement if they believe that a local TSA representative is considering mandating masks for air show spectators.

"In early June of 2021, there are still a lot of unresolved issues related to the gradual scaling back of COVID mitigation processes," says ICAS President John Cudahy.  "Here at ICAS, we feel very confident that the mask mandate in place at federally-funded airports was never intended to be enforced for members of the general public attending an outdoor air show, but we also now know that it's best for ICAS members to anticipate potential problems in this area and take pro-active steps to avoid them."

"Alternative Measures" approved by TSA allow for limited deviation from TSA policies and procedures. In this case, because all air shows are outdoors and away from any terminal buildings, some shows are requesting -- and receiving -- "Alternative Measure" approval so that air show spectators are not required to wear masks during the air show.

In addition to specifically documenting that the show will be held outdoors and that no air show spectators will have access to airport terminal facilities, ICAS recommends that a request for a local "Alternative Measure" variance also stipulate that there will be no enclosed facilities or displays, that public transportation will not be used as part of the air show, and that the "Alternative Measure" is being requested specifically and only for the days of the rehearsal show and public air show (typically, Friday, Saturday and Sunday). A request for an "Alternative Measure" should also confirm that the request to relieve air show spectators of the mandate to wear a mask during the air show will be in compliance with current state and local health requirements.

"COVID-related risk mitigation varies from state to state and even from community to community, so the response to a show's request to the TSA that it consider a possible 'Alternative Measure' will also vary from airport to airport," says Cudahy. "But we want to make sure that all members know that it could be a problem and that, if it becomes one, there is a process for requesting a limited exemption to the rule if circumstances in your state, in your community and at your airport permit it."

FMI: www.airshows.aero, www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/face-masks-public-transportation.html, https://www.tsa.gov/sd-and-ea


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