Europe is abolishing the mandatory wearing of masks on planes, but it's not so simple
In a joint statement, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said they will be lifting the mandatory use of in-flight personal protective equipment to help the aviation industry move out of severe pandemic restrictions.
Interestingly, three weeks ago, one of the courts in Florida overturned the US federal law on the wearing of face masks. And this decision is contrary to the current recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which are pushing for universal “mask regime”.
“From next week, face masks will no longer be mandatory on air travel, in line with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” — explained EASA Executive Director Patrick Kay. “For passengers and crew, this is a big step forward in the normalization of air travel. However, passengers must behave responsibly and respect the choices of those around them.
The new theses are part of a joint EU document that previously proposed banning passengers from eating or drinking during the flight to avoid the risks of transmission of COVID-19. Many recommendations, such as suspension of service in the cabin, were canceled in 2020 by most European airlines, but the recommendations remained in the document.
In recent weeks, a growing number of countries have been adjusting coronavirus regulations, and many have abolished them altogether. Within the EU, countries such as Ireland, Croatia, Denmark, Hungary, Finland, Poland and Sweden have already waived masks on board.
England, Switzerland and Norway also no longer require masks.
But, as it turned out, not everything is so simple and transparent. The EASA and ECDC recommendation remains only a recommendation. Individual EU states can ignore the documents of their aviation regulator and disease control agency and maintain their own rules for the use of masks during air travel.
The Netherlands, for example, has abolished masks in all situations, including all forms of public transport, excluding airports and airplanes.
Italy has also decided to keep the rules on wearing masks under certain conditions, including air travel, until at least mid-June. Spain and Germany canceled the “mask mode” on the ground, but masks are still required during air travel.
“The rules and requirements of the states of departure and destination must be observed and applied consistently, and tour operators must take care to inform passengers in a timely manner of any necessary measures,” &mdash ; commented ECDC director Andrea Ammon. “Vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask, ideally an FFP2 or N95 face shield.”
Passengers are also advised to maintain safe physical distancing, although airports will likely no longer enforce this.