The European Union eliminates the recommendation for the mandatory use of masks in airports and airplanes | Economy

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) have removed this Wednesday the recommendation of the mandatory use of masks in airports and on board a flightonly for those routes that start or end in countries where the mask is not mandatory in public transport.

In this way, the update this Wednesday that they have made around health security measures for air travel leaves Spain out among the destinations that will dispense with masks starting May 16.

Even so, experts have recalled that the mask is one of the best protections against the transmission of Covid-19. In addition to the changes regarding masks, the recommendations include a relaxation of stricter measures on air operations, which will help ease the burden on the industry while maintaining appropriate measures, according to EASA/ECDC.

“Starting next week, masks will no longer have to be mandatory on air travel in all cases, lining up widely with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport. For air passengers and crews, this is a huge step forward in normalizing air travel. However, passengers must behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should seriously consider wearing a face mask, for the peace of mind of those sitting nearby,” said EASA Chief Executive Officer Patrick Ky.

For his part, the director of the ECDC, Andrea Ammon, has affirmed that the updates in the Security Protocol have provided travelers and aviation personnel with a better understanding of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. “While the risks remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal,” she explained.

However, the rules for face masks in particular will continue to vary by airline beyond May 16. For example, flights to or from a destination where the use of masks is still required on public transport should continue to encourage the use of masks, according to the recommendations. Vulnerable passengers should continue to use it Regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type that offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

They also urge passengers to observe distancing measures indoors, including at the airport, whenever possible.

Spain maintains its use in transport and aircraft

The Minister of Health, Carolina Darias, has ruled out this Wednesday that the Government is going to eliminate the mandatory use of masks on public transport and on planes, despite the EASA and ECDC announcement.

This was stated by Darias at a press conference, at the end of the Interterritorial Health Council, in which he specified that the recommendations of the European Union on the use of masks both in airports and on flights must be aligned with national measures on its use in means and centers of transport.

Passengers at Barajas Airport.

Passengers at Barajas Airport.

In this sense, he recalled that the decree approved by the Executive last April establishes that The use of face masks is not mandatory on the platforms or in the airports themselvesbut yes in public transport and in flights.

In addition, he has said that the aforementioned European organizations have recommended that flight operators maintain their use, before insisting that Spain “very recently” decided to extend the obligation to wear the mask on public transport.

“All the measures have to have a path and therefore we have to walk hand in hand with prudence and proportionality as until now and always with unanimity in the proposals of the experts who advise us and in this case with the practical unanimity of the Interterritorial”, added Darias.

Ryanair eliminates the mask on European flights

For its part, Ryanair has reported that as of May 16, coinciding with the deadline set by the EU, the use of the mask will be voluntary on European flights, although it will continue to be essential on routes to or from the United States. 15 countries in which this measure is still mandatory in transport.

In addition to Spain, these States are Austria, Latvia, Cyprus, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Estonia, Malta, France, the Netherlands, Germany, Portugal, Greece and Italy.

In this sense, the CEO of Ryanair, Eddie Wilson, has celebrated “this relaxation of the regulations”. However, the company has specified that it expects the 15 countries that continue to maintain the mandatory mask to relax their rules on masks in the coming days in accordance with these new health guidelines from the AESA and the ECDC.

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