Greece ends mandatory mask-wearing in planes, public indoor areas

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Thessaloniki
A man wearing a protective face mask against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) walks in the neighbourhood of Dendropotamos, in Thessaloniki, Greece, January 7, 2022. REUTERS/Alexandros Avramidis/File Photo

ATHENS, May 18 (Reuters) - Greece said on Wednesday it would end the mandatory wearing of face masks in airplanes and indoor public venues from June 1, as it lifts restrictions imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19 ahead of the summer, its peak tourism season.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said this month that face masks will not have to be worn in airports and on flights in Europe from May 16. read more

But rules for wearing masks vary after the mandatory requirement was lifted, with airlines told to encourage passengers to use masks on flights to or from destinations where wearing a mask on public transport is still required.

"Mandatory mask-wearing remains in hospitals, nursing homes and urban transport like buses, metro and tram," Greece's Health Minister Thanos Plevris said in a televised message.

He added that an experts committee will announce its decision for ferry passengers next week.

In early March, Greece lifted a requirement that masks be worn in restaurants, bars and night entertainment establishments. read more

Health authorities reported 4,626 COVID-19 cases on Wednesday and 19 related deaths, bringing the country's total number of infections since the first case was detected two years ago to 3,406,553 million and total deaths to 29,619.

Reporting by Lefteris Papadimas and Angeliki Koutantou Editing by Paul Simao

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