International commercial air travel was a significant factor in the rapid spread of COVID-19 in early 2020. Understandably, most national governments responded by requiring the passenger aviation industry to adopt masking requirements. As attention to COVID has decreased (and anti-mask unruly passengers wreaked havoc), many countries have gotten rid of their mask requirements on planes and airports. However, with a seasonal surge of COVID upon us, Brazil is reinstating its mask mandate for air travellers.
Simple theft reports that Brazil bring back a mandatory mask in the country’s airports and on domestic and international flights taking off or landing in the country. Public health officials urged the return of protective measures, citing a recent infection data and the seasonal nature of COVID. Brazil, South America’s largest country, had only dropped its mask requirement for air travel in August 2022.
Travel during the holiday season is expected to amplify the seasonal spike in COVID infections, which spiked during the colder months. While Brazil initial mandate also prohibited in-flight meals, the new directives allow food service. The new mandate comes into effect this Friday, November 25.
Alex Campos, director of Brazil’s national health regulatory agency, said:
“The use of masks in high-risk environments, due to their characteristics of confinement, circulation and agglomeration of people, represents an act of citizenship and protection of the community and aims to mitigate the risk of transmission and of contagion of the disease.”
In the United States, the federal government mask obligation for air travelers has been lifted in April 2022 after a federal judge in Florida ruled that it was illegal. Every U.S.-Based Airline has since masks made optional for passengers. US carriers are still advising customers to follow national requirements when landing in countries like Brazil that have maintained or reinstated mask requirements.