EU lifts mask requirement for air travel as pandemic recedes | Economic news

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BERLIN (AP) — The European Union will no longer require masks to be worn at airports and on planes starting next week as part of the easing of coronavirus restrictions across the bloc, it was announced on Wednesday. authorities.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency said it hoped the joint decision, taken with the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, would mark “a big step forward in normalizing air travel”. for passengers and crew.

The new directive “takes into account the latest developments in the pandemic, in particular levels of vaccination and naturally acquired immunity, and the accompanying lifting of restrictions in a growing number of European countries”, the two agencies said in a statement. a joint statement.

“Passengers should, however, behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them,” said EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky. “And a coughing and sneezing passenger should strongly consider wearing a mask facial, to reassure people sitting nearby.”

Although the new recommendations come into effect on May 16, mask rules may still vary by airline beyond that date if they fly to or from destinations where the rules are different.

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Director of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, Andrea Ammon, said handwashing and social distancing should still be practiced, but airport operators are advised not to impose distancing requirements if these are likely to cause a bottleneck.

The agencies also recommended that airlines keep passenger location information collection systems on standby in case they are needed in the future, for example if a dangerous new variant emerges.

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