US plane, train travellers to receive 96 million cloth masks

86.8 million masks will be provided to airports. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) - The US government plans to distribute 96 million cloth face coverings to people riding on planes, trains and public transportation systems.

The Transportation Department said Friday (June 12) it will provide 86.8 million masks to airports and 9.6 million to 458 transit agencies and Amtrak.

"This Administration is committed to protecting our people and reopening the economy," Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said in a press release.

"Distributing these facial coverings will help boost public confidence as we begin to resume our normal lives."

Airline and transit operations have seen dramatic reductions in use by the public in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. People are beginning to return to travel, but the levels are still far below a year ago.

On Thursday, 502,209 people went through Transportation Security Administration airport screening, the most since March 21, according to the agency. That represents about 19% of the equivalent day a year ago.

Most airlines and transit systems already require masks, though enforcement has been spotty.

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