Covid Rules Lifted: Amid the easing of coronavirus restrictions across the bloc, the European Union on Wednesday said that the usage of masks would no longer be mandatory at the airports and on planes starting next week. The Aviation Safety Agency of the European Union also informed that it hopes the joint decision, made with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, would mark “a big step forward in the normalization of air travel” for passengers and crews.
The new guideline “takes account of the latest developments in the pandemic, in particular the levels of vaccination and naturally acquired immunity, and the accompanying lifting of restrictions in a growing number of European countries,” the two agencies said in a joint statement.
“Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them,” EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky said. “And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”
Here are some of the important takeaways from the order
- The new recommendations take effect on May 16
- The passengers must note that the rules for masks may vary by airline beyond that date if they fly to or from destinations where the rules are different
- Washing hands and social distancing should still be practiced, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control director Andrea Ammon said
- Airport operators are advised not to impose distancing requirements if these are likely to lead to a bottleneck
- The agencies 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.