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London Heathrow Airport Will Do Away With The Mask Mandate For Travelers
If you’re heading to jolly, ole’ London soon, Heathrow Airport has dropped its mask mandate for all travelers as of Wednesday, March 16, 2022. The airport made this announcement in a tweet. But masks are still highly recommended if you want that extra layer of protection when moving through crowds.
According to Travel + Leisure, “Heathrow will no longer require masks to be worn by incoming and outgoing passengers within the airport.” Responses to the end of the mask mandate will surely be mixed. Some will feel relieved, while others will express concern that the measure is too drastic and risky.
The reason for the concern isn’t exactly baseless. As Travel + Leisure indicated, “despite the rollback of COVID-19 restrictions, the UK is still reporting more than 440,000 positive COVID-19 cases this week, a 48 percent increase from the previous seven days. Approximately 67 percent of the population has received their booster dose, according to government data.”
The mask mandate was one of several pandemic-related policies enacted over the last two years. Even though it was put in place for the health and safety of passengers and staff, the joy of travel was compromised. Most would agree that the pandemic changed the face of travel forever, just as terrorism has in the post 9/11 world.
Travel + Leisure indicated that the rolling back of pandemic measures in The United Kingdom started in February, “when the pre-departure COVID-19 test requirement was eliminated for vaccinated travelers. Since then, regional airline Jet2 has become the first airline to ditch mask- wearing on board, though only for flights traveling within England and Northern Ireland.”
Some of the major airline carriers are relaxing mask mandates as well, unless passengers are required to wear them by the destination. For example, all Virgin Atlantic and British Airways flights bound for The United States will keep the mask requirement in place. A spokesman for British Airways told Travel + Leisure, “our customers are able to make a personal choice, and we kindly request everyone respects each other’s preferences.”
Additionally, “Passenger locator forms and additional tests will no longer be a requirement for entry into The United Kingdom, according to a tweet from Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Sajid Javid.”
Whether you choose to wear a mask or not while in London, stay safe.