Face Coverings at RDU

A TSA security directive and state executive order require all employees, travelers and other visitors to Raleigh-Durham International Airport to wear a face covering or mask in all areas of the airport. Failure to comply may result in removal or denial of re-entry to airport facilities, as well as penalties under federal and state law.

All airlines serving RDU also require passengers to wear a face covering on board the aircraft.

Find the latest information about how RDU is responding to COVID-19 at RDU.com or via RDU’s social media accounts.


Is a face covering required at RDU?

Yes. Federal law (TSA Security Directive 1542-21-01) and a state executive order require all employees, travelers and other visitors to Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) to wear a face covering or mask. Face coverings must be worn at all times in the airport with few exceptions (see below for list of exceptions). Failure to comply may result in removal or denial of re-entry to airport facilities, as well as penalties under federal and state law.


What constitutes a face covering?

A face covering is a material that covers the nose and mouth that is secured to the head with ties, straps, or loops over the ears or is simply wrapped around the lower face. It can be made of a variety of synthetic and natural fabrics, including cotton, silk, or linen. Ideally, a face covering has two (2) or more layers. A face covering may be factory-made, sewn by hand, or can be improvised from household items such as scarfs, bandanas, t-shirts, sweatshirts or towels.


Who is exempted from wearing a face covering?

Both the TSA Security Directive and state executive order provide exemptions for an airport worker, passenger or guest from wearing a face covering. The following are the noted exemptions from the state executive order, with additional information where the state exemptions are different from the TSA Security Directive:

  • Has a medical or behavioral condition or disability and cannot wear a face covering (including, but not limited to, any person who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious or incapacitated, or is otherwise unable to put on or remove the face covering without assistance)
  • Is under five (5) years of age – children under two (2) years of age should not wear a face covering. The TSA Security Directive exempts children under the age of 2.
  • Is actively eating or drinking
  • Is seeking to communicate with someone with hearing loss in a way that requires the mouth to be visible
  • Is giving a speech for a broadcast or to an audience
  • Is alone in a vehicle
  • Is temporarily removing his or her face covering for identification purposes
  • Would be at risk from wearing a face covering at work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines
  • Has found that his or her face covering is impeding visibility to operate equipment or a vehicle
  • Is a child whose parent, guardian, or responsible person has been unable to place the face covering safely on the child’s face

Will RDU provide guests a face covering if they do not have one?

Yes. FEMA-issued masks are available at the terminal Guest Services information desks for guests who lost or forgot their mask (available while supplies last). Face coverings are also being distributed by RDU’s Terminal Operations Team and sold in RDU’s terminal retail stores.


Where are you required to wear a face covering at RDU?

Airport workers and guests must wear a face covering at all times while anywhere on airport property, even when appropriate social distancing is maintained. A face covering must be worn in outdoor public spaces, including parking facilities.


Will RDU enforce the executive order?

Yes. The airport and its business partners are required to enforce federal and state law.


Will I be cited for not wearing a face covering at the airport?

Failure to comply may result in removal or denial of re-entry to airport facilities, as well as penalties under federal and state law. Airport employees are required to report anyone who refuses to wear a face covering to RDU law enforcement.


Will I be allowed to board my flight if I am not wearing a face covering?

All airlines operating at RDU require customers to wear a face covering onboard the aircraft and may refuse boarding privileges to customers not wearing a face covering.


Do I have to wear a face covering if I am dropping off a customer at RDU?

You are not required to wear a face covering while inside your personal vehicle. However, if you leave your personal vehicle while at the airport, federal law requires you to wear a face covering on airport property.


Am I required to wear my face covering while eating at the airport?

A face covering is not required when actively eating or drinking.


Am I required to keep my face covering on while processing through security?

Travelers are required to wear a face covering while processing through security. TSA officers may ask an individual to adjust their face covering during the screening process for identification purposes, which is permitted under federal and state law.


I have a medical condition, am I required to wear a face covering for air travel?

Federal law provides a face covering exception for individuals with disabilities who cannot wear a mask, or cannot safely wear a mask. Individuals who decline to wear a face covering are not required to provide documentation or proof of a condition that exempts them from the requirement.


Is my child required to wear a face covering at RDU?

Children over the age of two (2) are required to wear a face covering. Children under the age of two are exempted from the federal face covering requirement.


Are all airport employees required to wear a face covering?

Yes. All employees, travelers and other visitors to RDU are required by federal and state law to wear a face covering at the airport.


How long will I be required to wear a face covering at RDU?

Face coverings will be required at the airport until further notice.