Flying the friendly skies in and out of Piedmont Triad International Airport (PTIA) – and a lot of other airports around the country – just got a lot friendlier for those who don’t like wearing masks.

On Tuesday, April 19, PTIA sent out a press release stating, “The TSA [Transportation Security Administration] will no longer require airport employees or patrons to wear a face covering or face mask inside the airport terminal or on airport operated ground transportation.”

Airports were one of the last places in the state where masks were still required due to the COVID-19 pandemic – and this is another step toward the return of normalcy after two years of major lifestyle changes brought about by government regulations attempting to control the disease.

The mask change at PTIA takes place immediately.

PTIA officials noted that the TSA’s withdrawal of its directive doesn’t prevent individual airlines from imposing their own face mask rules – so flyers should check with their airline when booking tickets to learn the airlines’ masking policy.

Prior to the announcement from PTIA, Raleigh-Durham International Airport announced that that airport would no longer require visitors or employees to wear masks at the airport.

PTIA Executive Director Kevin Baker said his airport was taking its lead from the TSA.

“Face coverings and face masks are now optional inside the airport terminal,” he said, “We are following the guidance of TSA, which has lifted its mask mandate.”

Similar changes in masking rules for transportation entities nationwide began being implemented after a ruling by a federal court on Monday, April 18 overruled the mask requirement.

The Centers for Disease Control continues to recommend that people wear masks while in indoor public transportation settings. Travelers can still choose to wear a face covering while in the airport terminal at PTIA and also while on airport-operated ground transportation.

The  Piedmont Triad Airport Authority stated in the press release that it “urges patrons to respect the individual choices of their fellow travelers regarding face coverings.”