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    Air Travel: Europe to Remove Mask Mandate for Flights, Airports

    As the COVID-19 situation improves, the European Union will lift the mask mandate for European airplanes.

    13 May 2022

    Rabat - The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) announced on Wednesday that travelers will no longer be required to wear masks within the EU starting Monday, May 16.

    In a recent update of its aviation health safety protocol, EASA and ECDC said they dropped the recommendation for mandatory wearing of medical masks at airports and on board flights across Europe.

    The decision came after a continuous improvement of the epidemiological situation following two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, despite Europe currently being the worst-hit region in the world with nearly 1.5 million new infections reported in the last week.

    “From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” said EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky in a statement.

    Patrick noted that “passengers should behave responsibly,” adding that if a traveler is coughing or sneezing, they “should consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”

    Despite this decision, the institutions emphasized that rules are likely to vary depending on the airline.

    They explained that “flights to or from a destination where mask-wearing is still required on public transport should continue to encourage mask wearing, according to the recommendations.”

    Meanwhile, ECDC Director Andrea Ammon highlighted that despite the existing challenges, “non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal.”

    While mandatory mask-wearing is no longer recommended in Europe, Ammon encouraged people to keep adhering to social distancing and other preventive measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 variants.

    “The rules and requirements of departure and destination States should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner,” she added.

    In Morocco, the government has announced its plans to ease travel restrictions before the launch of Operation Marhaba 2022 in June, an initiative that facilitates the return of the Moroccan diaspora for the summer holidays.

    Local media reported that the country is expected to remove the “double obligation to have a vaccination pass and a PCR test to travel to Morocco via air routes.”

    It remains to be seen whether the government will mitigate travel restrictions to further revive the tourism sector that has been suffering from constant border closures since 2020.

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