Netherlands last remaining face masks rules at airports expiring May 21: report
The Netherlands plans to lift the requirement to wear a face mask at airports and on planes next Saturday, sources close to the Cabinet told De Telegraaf. This follows the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and European aviation watchdog EASA's decision to scrap the recommendation to wear a mask on planes.
However, masks may still be mandatory on some routes, airline KLM said to De Telegraaf. "If the country of destination makes it mandatory to wear masks on board, passengers will still have to adhere to it," a spokesperson said.
Many countries have already relaxed the rules, but the Netherlands' interpreted the EASA's "strong recommendation" as an obligation to wear masks on planes, according to the newspaper. Airlines long pointed out the disparity since the Cabinet already scrapped the rule to wear face masks everywhere else, including on public transport. They wondered why the exception for air travel.
KLM and Transavia have, therefore, not enforced masks on planes in recent weeks. "KLM has identified a decreasing number of incidents on board as a result of the fact that we stopped enforcing face masks since March 23," a spokesperson said to the newspaper.
Pilots' union VNV is relieved that the Netherlands is finally relaxing the rules so long after other countries started doing so. "In the Netherlands, this has not been done for unclear reasons, but we are now confident that the Cabinet will follow suit quickly and align policy with public transport."