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Massive rule change for Aussie travellers as masks are scrapped from inside airports THIS WEEK 

Huge rule change for Australian travelers as masks are being demolished from inside airports THIS WEEK

  • Mandatory mask mandates at Australian airports will be lifted within days
  • Passengers are still required to wear masks while flying, except when eating
  • States and territories must first make changes to their public health regulations

Mask-wearing rules at Australian airports will soon be scrapped, but are still required on flights, except when passengers are eating.

Late Tuesday, the federal government announced that the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) has recommended that masks are no longer required in terminals from midnight Friday, June 17.

Travelers will still be required to wear masks on all flights, but AHPCC said it will provide more advice on this in the future.

Health Secretary Mark Butler and Infrastructure Secretary Catherine King said they “expect the traveling public to notice this change in the days after Friday” as states and territories make changes to their public health regulations.

Wearing a mask at Australian airports will no longer be mandatory from Friday.  Pictured are passengers checking in at Melbourne Airport on Friday, June 10, 2022

Wearing a mask at Australian airports will no longer be mandatory from Friday. Pictured are passengers checking in at Melbourne Airport on Friday, June 10, 2022

“This amended advice comes after the AHPPC has assessed the current Covid-19 situation in Australia and finds it no longer proportionate to mandate the wearing of masks in terminals,” the ministers said in a joint statement.

They said AHPPC had “noted that all states and territories have relaxed mask mandates in most community institutions.”

Australians are recommended by AHPPC to continue wearing masks as an important measure to minimize the spread of Covid-19 and flu.

“Masks help us protect the most vulnerable in our community who cannot be vaccinated and those who are at higher risk of developing serious disease,” the ministers said.

The European Union stopped enforcing the wearing of masks on flights in May, although the application of the rule change belonged to individual member states.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) said it hoped the discarding of masks would be “a major step forward in the normalization of air traffic.”

The move was taken after considering vaccination levels and naturally acquired immunity, as well as the lifting of restrictions in a growing number of European countries.

EASA Director Patrick Ky warned that passengers are still required to behave responsibly.

“A passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those sitting nearby,” he said.

Passenger and crew on a Qantas flight are pictured wearing face masks in September 2020.  This is still mandatory on planes in Australia

Passenger and crew on a Qantas flight are pictured wearing face masks in September 2020. This is still mandatory on planes in Australia

Airlines welcomed the changes and called for a consistent approach to mask mandates.

“We believe that mask requirements on aircraft should end when masks are no longer required in other areas of everyday life, for example theatres, offices or on public transport,” said Willie Walsh, director general of International Air Transportation Association.

Australia’s relaxation of the rules will be welcomed by Australian airport operators who have called for the mandate to be lifted.

On Tuesday, 25,622 new cases of Covid-19 were registered across Australia.

From Monday 16 May, wearing face masks on flights in Europe will no longer be mandatory.  Depicted are people in an airplane

From Monday 16 May, wearing face masks on flights in Europe will no longer be mandatory. Depicted are people in an airplane

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