Even while the formal relaxation of pandemic-related laws and limitations in the UAE won’t be effective until Wednesday, the removal of Emirates’ mask mandate really went into effect earlier.
However, as of Tuesday at 4:05 p.m., passengers were no longer obliged to wear a face mask on Emirates flights, according to the airline’s website. Confusingly, the airline added that the masking requirements would be determined by local laws at the passenger’s destination, which may indicate that some flights may still be subject to the mask regulation.
Nearly all passengers aged six and older were legally forced to wear masks onboard all Emirates flights, making the UAE one of the countries with the longest-running face mask requirements in the whole world.
The only legal exception allowed by Emirates was for travelers who could show a doctor’s note with a medical exemption and was enforced inconsistently for the majority of the previous two and a half years.
Masking will still be required in hospitals and mosques, according to Dr. Saif Al Dhaheri, a spokeswoman for the UAE’s National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority, who announced the modifications. Public transportation will also be required to wear masks.
“The aviation sector will adopt precautionary measures in line with the national aviation protocol, with airlines to decide whether face masks will be mandatory or optional on airplanes,” Dr Al Dhaheri explained.
The requirement to wear a face mask on flights was still being reinforced to passengers on Tuesday night by Etihad Airways, flydubai, and Air Arabia.