COVID19: Cyprus not dropping masks for flights, airports

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The Health Ministry on Monday warned the public that mask-wearing on flights and at Cyprus airports is still mandatory despite European Union guidelines ending the need for face-covering during air travel.

Cyprus on Monday reminded the public that despite relaxations, including the scrapping of Safe Pass documents, an indoor mask mandate is still in effect.

With the exemption of children under 12, everyone is still obliged to wear a mask while in indoor facilities, including for travel.

It is also warned that not wearing a mask at airports is penalised with a €300 fine.

“The European recommendations for suspending the obligation to use a mask will be evaluated at a later stage by the Ministry of Health in consultation with the scientific advisory committee,” the ministry said.

Last week the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) recommended that all mask requirements at airports and airlines be dropped from 16 May.

However, both bodies did warn that mask regulations could continue to be applied according to airlines and the destination of travellers.

Passengers, onboard flights to or from a destination where mask-wearing is still required will be instructed to wear a mask.

For airlines, the two bodies stressed that passengers should behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them.

In a joint statement, they noted: “A passenger coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask to reassure those seated nearby”.

The Health Ministry urged Cypriots to continue complying with personal protection measures, including using a protective mask, as it is still one of the best precautions against the transmission of COVID-19.

The updated guidance considers the latest developments in the pandemic, “in particular the levels of vaccination and naturally acquired immunity, and the accompanying lifting of restrictions in a growing number of European countries,” the EASA said in a statement.

Italy and Spain have said they will not be lifting the mandate on face coverings during flights.