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Passengers boarding select British Airways flights will soon have options, as the global airline announced that beginning Wednesday, wearing face masks will be optional based on destination.
“From 16 March, our face mask policy is changing. Where we’re clear the destination you’re traveling to doesn’t require a face mask on board, it will become optional,” British Airways said Tuesday, via Twitter. “Please continue to respect fellow passengers’ mask preferences in these instances.”
British Airways, along with Virgin Atlantic announced the shift in policy together. The UK-based airlines issued a statement with London’s Heathrow Airport.
“Those traveling through Heathrow will no longer be required to wear a face covering after the airport announced that it is moving away from a mandate from Wednesday 16 March,” the statement reads. “In recognition that the pandemic is not over, Heathrow strongly encourages those at the airport to continue wearing a face covering – particularly when coming into close contact with others – although this will no longer be a firm requirement.
“The change mirrors steps taken by other transport organizations in the UK, and applies across all of Heathrow’s terminals, bus and railway stations and office spaces.”
The new policy comes after government in England and Northern Ireland recently removed mask mandates on public transport and in indoor spaces.
The U.S., meanwhile, extended the federal mask mandate on public transportation for 30 days Thursday. The new mandate will be in effect through at least April 18.
“This revised framework will be based on the COVID-19 community levels, risk of new variants, national data, and the latest science,” the Transportation Security Administration said in a statement, via Business Insider. “We will communicate any updates publicly if and/or when they change.”
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