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Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased
Health measures are set to be eased for air travel in Europe. (Photo: Eric Piermont / AFP)

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that 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.

“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,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“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.”

Member comments

  1. Starting to go out without covering my face with a mask and increasingly more and more people are leaving off the mask.

  2. I am just mow not wearing the mask when going out and increasingly more and more people are keeping them off.

  3. I am now not wearing the mask when going out and increasingly more and more people are not wearing them.

  4. I am not covering my face when I go out and increasingly mire and more people are doing the same.

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SPORT

How will the Tour de France affect traffic and travel in Denmark?

The 2022 Tour de France starts on Friday, with the much-anticipated Danish Grand Départ setting off from Copenhagen and making its way across Denmark.

How will the Tour de France affect traffic and travel in Denmark?

The race will begin in Copenhagen and spend several days in Denmark crossing islands before riders will be transferred back to France for the race to continue from the north east of the country.

The Tour usually includes at least one stage outside France, but Covid travel restrictions meant the 2021 race was held entirely in France, apart from a brief trip into the neighbouring micro-state of Andorra.

Copenhagen was originally scheduled to host the 2021 Grand Départ.

The race usually starts on a Saturday, but next year will begin on Friday, July 1st, in order to allow time for the rest days and transfer of all teams back from Denmark to France.

READ ALSO: MAP: What you need to know about the 2022 Tour de France (and Denmark)

The Danish portion of the tour is as follows:

Stage 1 – July 1st
Copenhagen – Copenhagen – 13km (time trial)

Stage 2 – July 2nd
Roskilde – Nyborg – 199km

Stage 3 – July 3rd
Vejle – Sønderborg – 182km

Stage 1: Copenhagen

Friday July 1st sees a short 13 kilometre time trial on the streets of Copenhagen mark the beginning of the Grand Depart. Some road closures can be expected as early as Monday June 27th and throughout the week leading up to the event as the city prepares for the arrival of the Tour. As such, both traffic and parking may be congested.

The central H.C. Andersens Boulevard will be closed to traffic with parking areas blocked off in the start and finish area of the route. These closures will be in place from June 27th until Monday July 4th at 5am.

The route of the time trial itself will be closed to traffic from the early hours of July 1st, while parking will not be permitted on the route from the morning of the preceding day, Thursday June 30th.

Spectators and residents in Copenhagen are therefore asked to use public transportation to both access and travel within the city. It will not be possible to drive into central Copenhagen.

Normal traffic is expected from Monday July 4th.

Stage 2: Roskilde – Nyborg

Saturday July 2nd will see the Tour cross Zealand and eventually make its way to the island of Funen across the Great Belt Bridge.

The following municipalities can expect traffic and delays throughout the day, with motorists advised to check their routes and leave early if necessary: Roskilde, Lejre, Odsherred, Holbæk, Kalundborg, Korsør and Nyborg.

Local information about road closures during the Tour de France can be found via the relevant municipality websites. Here is the page for Roskilde, for example.

Detailed information about the second stage can be found on the race organiser’s website.

The Great Belt Bridge will be closed completely to cars from 1pm to 6pm on July 2nd, with adjacent motorway sections closing at 12:30 pm. The motorway will be closed between the Nyborg V (Funen) and Slagelse V (Zealand) junctions.

Motorists are therefore strongly advised to avoid travelling between east and west Denmark on July 2nd and to instead plan their journeys for Thursday, Friday or Sunday. Rail traffic across the bridge will not be affected, however.

Ferry connections between Jutland and Zealand, such as those from Aarhus and Ebeltoft to Sjællands Odde, are expected to book up early for July 2nd.

READ ALSO: Denmark warned of traffic and airport congestion as school holidays begin

Stage 3: Vejle – Sønderborg

Fjord city Vejle, with its steep roads and hilly countryside, will challenge the riders on stage 3 before they head south towards Sønderborg near the German border. Both towns can expect considerable queuing and extended journey times.

Passengers travelling through Billund Airport should allow extra travel time on July 3rd due to possible delays linked to the road closures and congestion around Vejle.

In addition to Vejle and Sønderborg, the Kolding, Haderslev and Aabenraa municipalities will all have road closures to make way for the Tour competitors.

Local information about road closures during the Tour de France can be found via the relevant municipality websites. Here is the page for Vejle, for example.

More information about the third stage of the Tour can be found here.

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