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EU Drops Mandatory Masks on Planes and Airports

Facemasks flights airports
The mandatory face mask rule will be dropped in the EU on May 16th. Credit: Greek Reporter

Face masks will no longer be required in airports and on planes in Europe, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said on Wednesday.

The easing of the measure will be effective as of May 16th. However, authorities stressed masks were still the most effective way to control the spread of COVID-19.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” the EASA said in a statement.

What EU authorities say about masks on planes and in airports

“It is a relief to all of us that we are finally reaching a stage in the pandemic where we can start to relax the health safety measures,” EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky said.

“For many passengers, and also aircrew members, there is a strong desire for masks to no longer be a mandatory part of air travel. We are now at the start of that process,” reported Ky.

Italy, France, Bulgaria, and other European countries have already been easing or ending their COVID-19 measures.

In April, several US airlines said face masks were no longer necessary on board after a federal judge in Florida ruled that the mandate on public transport was unlawful.

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission,” ECDC Director Andrea Ammon cautioned.

Starting next week, face mask rules are expected to vary with the ECDC recommending airlines encourage passengers to use mouth coverings on flights to or from destinations where wearing a mask on public transport is still required.

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