EU eases mandatory mask rule in Europe

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The entire European Union member states are following the lifting of coronavirus restrictions across the EU. As per the authorities, the obligation to wear masks will no longer be required at airports and on planes beginning next week.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency framed the joint decision with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. It announced to take further steps to normalize travel for passengers and crews.

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“The new guideline considers the latest developments in the pandemic, particularly the level of vaccination and naturally acquired immunity, and the lifting of restrictions in many European countries,” the two agencies said in a joint statement.

EASA Executive Director Patrick said passengers should act responsibly and respect other people’s choices around them. A passenger who coughs and sneezes should strongly wear a mask to reassure those seated nearby.”

While the new recommendations take effect on May 16, rules for masks may still vary by airline beyond that date if they fly to or from destinations where the rules are different.

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control director Andrea Ammon said washing hands and social distancing should still be practised.

Still, airport operators are advised not to impose distancing requirements if these are likely to lead to a bottleneck. The agencies also recommended that airlines keep systems for collecting passenger locator information on standby in case they are needed in future, for example, if a new dangerous variant emerges.

IATA welcomed new guidance from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), removing its recommendation that masks should be required in-flight.

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“Travelers can look forward to the freedom of choice on whether to wear a mask. And they can travel with confidence knowing that many features of the aircraft cabin, such as high-frequency air exchange and high-efficiency filters, make it one of the safest indoor environments,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director-General.

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