Face coverings will not have to be worn in airports and on flights in Europe starting May 16.
The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) announced the new policy on Wednesday.
EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky said: "From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases."
Ky said the move was in line with requirements from national transport officials across Europe.
Italy, France, Bulgaria and other European countries have been easing or ending many or all of their measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Several U.S. airlines said they would no longer require masks in April. The move came after a federal judge in Florida ruled that the U.S. administration's mask requirement for public transport was unlawful.
ECDC Director Andrea Ammon said, although wearing masks would not be mandatory, "together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission."
Hygiene is a term that describes things done to keep yourself clean to stay healthy.
After the mandatory requirement is lifted, rules for wearing masks are expected to be different between airlines in Europe. Airlines will encourage passengers to use masks on flights to or from places where mask-wearing on public transport is still required, the agencies said.
I'm Ashley Thompson.
Natalie Grover reported on this story for Reuters. John Russell adapted it for VOA Learning English.
_______________________________________________Words in This Story
mask –n. a covering used to protect your face or cover your mouth
mandatory – adj. required by a law or rule
transmission – n. the act or process by which something is spread or passed from one person or thing to another
encourage – v. to make (someone) more likely to do something