Australia

National agreement needed for flight mask rule lift

Mask mandates for passengers aboard domestic flights could soon be scrapped but a national approach must first be agreed by all states and territories.

While Health Minister Mark Butler has not yet received advice from public health authorities about removing mask requirements on international flights to Australia, he says rules on domestic flights are a matter for state and territory leaders to decide.

The key decision-making committee for health emergencies – the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee – decided at its most recent meeting that masks should still be worn on flights, Butler said.

“If advice comes to me … about lifting the mask mandate on incoming flights, it would be my intention to consult with state ministers,” he told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.

The mask mandate on domestic flights would be decided at a national level and it was important for all state and territory leaders to be on the same page when the advice came to remove restrictions, the health minister said.

He does not want to see mask-wearing rules during flights differ across jurisdictions.

As for the return of mask wearing in public places and venue density limits during winter, Butler did not expect those measures to return.

“I don’t think public health authorities are suggesting that there’s any likelihood of advice around those old public health measures,” he said.

“Australians are glad to see those in the rear-vision mirror.”

-AAP

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Place of originNational agreement needed for flight mask rule lift

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