IRISH holidaymakers are in for another boost next week when rules on mask-wearing at airports and on flights are relaxed.
The rule change applies to travel within Europe and will come into effect on May 16.
The European Union Agency for Aviation Safety and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control have said face masks will no longer be mandatory at airports and on flights in Europe.
The move is a recommendation, but it is now up to individual governments and airlines to decide whether to change their OWN rules and recommendations.
That means individual airlines could still require masks to be worn on flights.
European health officials urged passengers to continue wearing a mask if they had cold symptoms and said they should also follow the recommendations of each airline they travel with.
EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky said: “From next week, face masks will no longer have to be mandatory in all cases for air travel, largely in line with changing public transport requirements from national authorities across Europe.”
“For passengers and flight crew, this is a major step forward in normalizing air travel.
“However, passengers should behave responsibly and respect the decisions of others around them.
“And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask to reassure those seated nearby.”
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ECDC Director Andrea Ammon added: “The evolution and ongoing updates of the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have provided travelers and flight crew with a better understanding of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants.
“Although risks remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to return to normal.
“Although mandatory mask wearing is no longer recommended in all situations, it is important to remember that this, along with physical distancing and good hand hygiene, is one of the best ways to reduce transmission.
“The rules and requirements of the countries of departure and destination should be respected and applied consistently, and tour operators should take care to inform passengers of any necessary measures in a timely manner.
“The importance of these measures to passengers’ safety should continue to be communicated effectively, and ECDC will continue to work with our colleagues at EASA to regularly assess and amend the recommendations.”
Meanwhile, Irish holidaymakers are being urged not to book flights until they receive their renewed passports.
This is due to a large backlog at the passport office as people across the island scramble to get their renewals ahead of the summer holidays.
https://www.thesun.ie/travel/8777823/major-boost-irish-holidaymakers-mask-travel-rule-europe/ Big boost for Irish holidaymakers as the mandatory mask rule for airports and flights fell in Europe next week