As restaurants, department stores and other local businesses grapple with operating at half occupancy (or less) to comply with social distancing guidelines, airlines are packing customers to near capacity on a reduced number of flights.

Why it matters: The practice shows how a lack of a national policy allows certain companies — like airlines — to continue to put Americans at risk for exposure to COVID-19 while other companies miss out on revenue by adhering to local regulations.

“If you look back at SARS in 2003, this issue of planes being a spreader of the virus has been well-known,” Paul Tharp, an attorney specializing in negligence and liability at North Carolina’s Arnold & Smith law firm, tells Axios.