In 2020, the first-ever case of Coronavirus was detected in Kerala, India. After that, as the number of COVID19 positive cases increased, a series of restrictions were imposed to control its progression. Many limitations were observed, and domestic and international travel was banned during this time.
As the condition improved slowly, curbs were eased. The government lifted the restrictions on domestic and international travel, the number of flights, and mandatory 15-day quarantine. The removal of these limitations offered respite to travel lovers and boosted tourism.
In a recent development, the Civil Aviation ministry reviewed their decision taken in May 2022, where they mandated the use of face masks. From now on, flyers can commute mask-free during air travel. The communication said that covering the face at the airport or flight is preferable but no longer necessary.
In a recent announcement, the Civil Aviation Ministry lifted the rule mandating the use of face masks. The order issued on Wednesday (16th November 2022) was taken following the Indian government’s policy of a graded approach to the Coronavirus response.
Domestic and international travellers can now decide for themselves whether they wish to put on the mask on the flight or at the airport premises. They are no longer required to pay fines for not covering their mouth. While the recent communication from the government said that flyers do not need to wear a mask, it still encouraged its usage.
The order mentioned that covering the face was preferable during the air journey. Doing so will ensure the safety of the flyer and fellow passengers. The statement said, "... the in-flight announcements henceforth may only mention that in view of the threat posed by COVID-19, all passengers should preferably use mask/face covers". They further discouraged the mention of fine/penal action as part of in-flight announcements.
Making masks optional is the next step towards bringing back travel to pre-covid times. It will provide respite to travellers and make travel convenient. Hopefully, these measures will encourage tourism lovers to pack their bags and get ready for their next vacation.