Wearing masks onboard flights will no longer be obligatory as of May 16th, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) announced.
The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the ECDC issued an update to health safety measures for air travel on Wednesday. This paves the way for relaxation of the need to wear masks during flights.
However, the ECDC said that rules for masks in particular will continue to vary by airline beyond the date. Flights to or from a destination where mask-wearing is still required on public transport should continue to encourage the practice.
The agencies both still recommend masks as one of the main protections against the virus, saying that vulnerable passengers especially should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules.
The ECDC said in a statement that passengers are encouraged to observe distancing measures in indoor areas, including at the airport.
‘But airport operators should adopt a pragmatic approach to this: for example, they should avoid imposing distancing requirements if these will very likely lead to a bottleneck in another location in the passenger journey, especially if they are not required at national or regional level in other similar settings.’