The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee has stated that Australia would no longer require face masks in airports starting on June 17. However, there are still no plans to relax masking requirements after passengers board a plane.
AHPPC said in a statement that after comparing the environment to comparable public indoor venues where masking hasn’t been necessary for months, it reached to the decision that mask rules might be relaxed in airport terminal buildings.
“The AHPPC notes that all states and territories have relaxed mask mandates in most settings within the community and considers that it is no longer proportionate to mandate mask use in airport terminals,” the committee said on Tuesday.
Mask requirements may be relaxed starting on Friday, but it will be up to individual states and even airports to do so. The choice was made one week after Canberra Airport took legal action against the Australian Capital Territory for its violation of human rights in requiring masks.
Airport chief executive Stephen Byron had called airport masking rules “discrimination with no legal basis”.
“There’s no health basis, there’s no data or evidence that requires this, everyone knows and agrees that,” Byron said of the mask mandate.
Even if wearing a face mask is not required, the AHPCC advised travelers to do so.
“The AHPPC continues to recognize the role of masks, along with other public health measures, in minimizing COVID-19 and influenza transmission and protecting the broader community, including those who are unable to get vaccinated and people who have a higher risk of developing severe illness,” a statement from the committee explained.
“In light of this, the AHPPC continues to strongly recommend continued mask-wearing in airport terminals and other indoor settings, especially where physical distancing is not possible.”
After passengers board an airplane, there are currently no plans to relax the face mask regulations. Passengers 12 and older in Australia must abide by the aviation masking regulations.
The in-flight mask requirement should be eliminated, according to Qantas, the national airline of Australia. The company also aims to make masking optional on international flights to countries where mask regulations have already been relaxed, such as the United Kingdom and the United States.