The Star-Herald

Presque Isle International Airport to require masks inside airport

PRESQUE ISLE, ME — Presque Isle International Airport announced on Wednesday that flyers will be required to wear masks inside the airport beginning on Friday.

The airport announced the decision shortly after United Airlines said it would begin mandating face coverings at customer service counters, gates, kiosks and baggage claim areas in airports it serves worldwide beginning on Friday. United is the only airline that flies in and out of Presque Isle International, making 12 round trips per week to Washington Dulles International Airport in the Washington metropolitan area.

Airport Director Scott Wardwell said the change was an effort to maintain a “consistent experience” throughout the United Airlines network as it begins to require masks at terminals around the country.

The new policy comes amid renewed fears about COVID-19 in the Presque Isle area, though the timing appears unrelated. On Tuesday, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that an outbreak of three COVID-19 cases had occurred at the Walmart in Presque Isle, a week after an employee at a Mars Hill nursing home tested positive for the virus.

United said that customers who refuse to follow their mask rules could be denied service or be banned from flying United. The policy begins on Friday at airports worldwide.

United already requires passengers to wear a face covering for the duration of their flight, except when eating or drinking.

As COVID-19 rates surge across the United States — especially in hot spots like Florida, Arizona and California — several more companies have begun adopting facemask requirements.

National chains with facemask policies in Presque Isle include Lowe’s Home Improvement, Walgreens and Walmart, where a face mask requirement this month caused controversy among some residents.

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