The European Union will end its mask mandate in airports and flights starting next week amid waning COVID-19 cases.
The EU's Aviation Safety Agency on Wednesday announced that starting Monday, masks will no longer be required by passengers.
But the announcement was annotated with a caveat.
"However, rules for masks in particular will continue to vary by airline beyond that date. For example, 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,'' the announcement reads.
''Vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask," it continues.
According to Business Insider, after peaking in late January, COVID-19 cases across Europe, for the most part, have since declined.
The EU is dropping its mask mandates just weeks after a U.S. federal judge in Florida said the mandates could not be enforced.
Further, EASA's executive director, Patrick Ky, said that "for passengers and aircrews, this is a big step forward in the normalization of air travel ..." but "a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby."
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