12 May 2022, by Victoria Séveno

Sources in The Hague have suggested that the Dutch government is likely to ditch the final remaining major COVID-19 restriction: the mask mandate at airports and on planes. 

ECDC and EASA mask recommendation to lift on May 16

In a press release on Wednesday, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) announced that the official recommendation to wear a face mask on planes and at airports in Europe would expire on May 16.

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

Dutch government expected to relax COVID-19 travel rules

It’s been weeks since the Dutch government’s last coronavirus press conference, and few restrictions remain in place in the Netherlands. With 86,4 percent of the adult population fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the number of hospitalisations and intensive care admissions continues to fall. 

It is therefore relatively unsurprising that sources within the Dutch government and the National Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM) expect Health Minister Ernst Kuipers will follow the latest advice from the ECDC. De Telegraaf reports that the mask mandate will likely lift on Saturday, May 21. 

While current measures state that face masks remain mandatory on airports and on flights departing from or arriving in the Netherlands, recent weeks have seen a number of major airlines refuse to enforce the rule.

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