Corona guidelines: EU recommendation for wearing masks on planes relaxed

Cologne/Berlin
Masks are gradually disappearing from everyday life in Germany. On the plane, however, they should continue to be mandatory for the time being – even a relaxed EU guideline will not change that.

The responsible EU authorities have begun to relax guidelines on corona protection in aviation. Among other things, as of this Monday (May 16), a general recommendation to wear medical masks in airports and airplanes will no longer apply, as announced by the European Aviation Safety Agency EASA and the EU Health Authority ECDC.

If there is a government obligation to wear masks in public transport at the point of departure or destination, this should also continue to apply on board the aircraft, according to the recommendation.

Masks are compulsory on all domestic German routes

On request, the Federal Ministry of Health explained that the national authorities decide whether masks are compulsory on airplanes. It therefore continues to apply to all domestic German routes and to flights in
Germany take off or land. According to this, FFP2 or medical masks must be worn when boarding and disembarking and throughout the flight. You can only lose it by eating and drinking. Children under the age of six are exempt from the obligation.

The nationwide mask requirement on airplanes – and also on long-distance trains – is initially stipulated in the Infection Protection Act until September 23rd. Masks are also compulsory in local public transport with buses and trains, which the federal states have ordered. In France, the mask requirement on public transport ends early next week, as Health Minister Olivier Véran said. Nevertheless, it is recommended to wear a mask. The health situation has improved, but the pandemic is not over. Regarding air travel to a country where masks are still mandatory, Véran said that the airlines are responsible.

From next week onwards, masks will no longer be mandatory in all cases, said EASA boss Patrick Ky. For passengers and crews, this is a big step towards normalizing air traffic. At the same time, the EU authorities emphasized that wearing a mouth and nose protector is still one of the best protective measures against the transmission of the corona virus.

According to the information, the reason for the easing is the latest developments in the pandemic. These include, in particular, the number of vaccinations, the immunity created by infections and the associated lifting of restrictions in a growing number of European countries.

Lufthansa spokeswoman for the lifting of the mask requirement

Aviation welcomed the new recommendations. The federal government should take this as an opportunity and now lift the mask requirement on board aircraft, said the Federal Association of the German Aviation Industry. Other countries have already dropped travel requirements and the obligation to wear a mask. A Lufthansa spokeswoman said: “It is time to rely on voluntariness, as is now the norm in other areas of daily life, such as in the supermarket or restaurant.” In the aircraft, highly efficient filters constantly cleaned the cabin air.

The International Airline Association (IATA) said mask requirements on board aircraft should end when masks are no longer mandatory in other areas of daily life – such as theatres, offices or public transport.

Ryanair: Continued mask requirement on flights to 15 EU countries

Europe’s largest low-cost airline Ryanair has published a list of 15 EU countries in which national laws still require the wearing of face masks to prevent corona.

In addition to Germany, important tourism destinations such as Spain, Greece, Portugal and Italy are also included. If there is a state mask requirement in public transport at the point of departure or at the destination, this should also continue to apply on board the machines, according to the aviation safety agency EASA and the EU health authority ECDC.

Ryanair welcomed the easing of the recommendations. From Monday, wearing face protection will be optional on flights between countries that are not on the list. It is expected that the states will change their regulations in the coming days in line with the guidelines, said airline boss Eddie Wilson according to a statement.

© dpa-infocom, dpa:220511-99-243628/6


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