The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) have announced that from Monday, May 16, they will no longer require passengers to wear face masks in airports and on flights in the EU.
EASA said that they hoped the decision would mark “a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel.”
“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.”
A Big Step Forward
In an official statement, EASA said they were “dropping the recommendation for mandatory wearing of medical masks in airports and onboard a flight, while noting that a face mask is still one of the best protections against the transmission of Covid-19”.
They continued by saying that this “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 agencies have stated that rules on wearing masks are expected to vary depending on the airline or airport you are travelling. Both will still be able to implement their own requirements and many, it is believed, will still encourage passengers to use masks. Passengers travelling on flights to or from a destination where mask-wearing is still mandatory on public transport may still be required to wear a mask. Enforcing the rule will no doubt become increasingly difficult.
The ECDC has also advised that systems for collecting passenger locator information should be kept on standby if needed in the future, for example, if a “new variant of concern” emerges.
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