The European Union (EU) will stop requiring the mandatory use of chinstraps on planes and airports as of Monday, the aviation safety agency reported this Thursday, given the decrease in Covid-19 cases in Europe.
“Starting next week, face masks will not be mandatory for air travelsaid Patrick Ky, Executive Director of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
Ky noted that the lifting of this obligation is “a big step towards the normalization of air transport.”
The AESA pointed out, however, that the mask remains one of the best forms of protection against the transmission of Covid-19, especially for vulnerable people.
The European entity also indicated that the rules on face masks “will continue to evolve after this date, depending on the airlines.”
For example, the use of a chinstrap will be recommended for flights to or from a destination where its use is mandatory on public transportthe agency said in the statement.
In general terms, passengers “should behave responsibly and respect the decisions of those around them,” the AESA stressed, noting that “a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should consider wearing a mask to reassure those sitting nearby.”
The main group of airlines in the world, IATA, celebrated this new protocol stating that gives travelers “the freedom to choose whether or not to wear a mask”Willie Walsh, its CEO, said.
Passengers “can travel with peace of mind knowing that the many features of the aircraft cabin, such as the high frequency of air changes and high-efficiency filters, make this one of the safest places,” he said, according to the AFP agency.
However, IATA admitted that in the international context the picture is more complex.
“Although the European protocol comes into force next week, there is no consistent global strategy regarding the use of masks on board aircraft”Walsh said.
IATA indicated that airlines must comply with the regulations that apply to the route they are operating and that the crew will be informed about the regulations in force and that it is “critical” that passengers follow the instructions.
Besides asked travelers to be “respectful” with the decisions of other people who use masks voluntarily.
This relaxation of health regulations occurs at a time of boom in travel in Europe, after two years of activity reduced by the pandemic.
For this summer, the air traffic supervisory body Eurocontrol expects the volume to return to a level equivalent to 95% of the 2019 activity, despite the effect of the war in Ukraine, oil prices and inflation.
While, France announced this Thursday that starting next Monday it will no longer be mandatory to wear a face mask on public transport, one of the last remaining restrictions in the country due to Covid..
“As of May 16, the use of masks will no longer be compulsory on public transport,” declared the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran.
The official pointed out that the use is still recommended, but that the obligation “is not adapted” to the current situation of the pandemic in the face of the decrease in cases in the country.
France began relaxing its strict mask-wearing strategy in February after a spike in cases over the winter, and masks continued to be required in workplaces and schools for weeks, until a drop was recorded. most pronounced of infections.