Visitors traveling to Cancun will no longer have to wear face masks on flights or at the airport after officials announced the removal of the pandemic-era hygiene measure. The decision signifies the end of COVID-related measures in Cancun and the Mexican Caribbean.
Mexico’s Federal Civil Aviation agency published a new decision this week to remove the obligatory use of face masks on flights and airports across the country. Although most countries have already eliminated similar measures, Mexico has been rather conservative in upkeeping mask usage to protect travelers.
The country’s aviation authority put out a statement in relation to the new decision, arguing that “large departure halls in airports are well-ventilated, and aircraft use a highly efficient HEPA air filtration system that removes 99,9% of all microparticles, bacterias, and viruses, as a result of which face masks will no longer be obligatory.”
Despite the removal of legally-mandated face-covering masks, officials say that travelers exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms should always wear a face mask to protect other tourists. Travelers can also find face masks around the country’s airports, should they not have their own.
The Mexican federal aviation authority has sent a notice to all airports, airlines, and other relevant stakeholders in the country explaining the new directive, which updates existing health protocols.
Several Mexican airlines, including Viva Aerobus, Volaris, and Aeroméxico, will continue to uphold mandatory face mask-wearing for airline employees. Passengers should familiarize themselves with their airline’s face mask policy before flying, as some carriers still mandate face masks for passengers.
Aeroméxico, the Mexican flag carrier, has said that it will adopt a gradual and safe approach toward removing face masks. The airline wants to minimize health risks to both passengers and crew and wants to remind tourists about the importance of safe travel.
Since 2020, face masks have been legally mandated in most airports around the world, including Cancun International Airport. With the new directive, however, each traveler will be able to decide if they want to wear a face mask in accordance with their own risk analysis. However, travelers showing respiratory symptoms are urged to take other passengers into account and wear a face mask while traveling.
The obligatory use of face masks in the Mexican Caribbean state of Quintana Roo was first issued on March 31, 2020. The measure remained in place for a total of 771 days, after which the state government announced its use would become voluntary. The state remains at the green epidemiological alert level, indicating a low risk of infection to the population.
Widespread vaccinations and booster campaigns around the world mean that vulnerable populations are now sufficiently protected against severe forms of COVID-19, making travel safer.
With the recent removal of face masks from airports and flights, Cancun and the Mexican Caribbean have inched closer to the post-COVID-19 era, in which health and safety measures are gradually becoming a distant memory. This is certainly a positive development for the millions of tourists that are expected to visit the region over the coming months. Cancun International Airport, by far the largest in the area, is projected to welcome a record 26 million passengers this year.
In addition to the scrapping of face masks, Cancun International Airport is installing new electronic immigration technology for U.S and Canadian travelers. Called e-Gates, the new digital immigration machines are largely expected to speed up the entry process for North American travelers to the region this winter, further boosting already growing tourism numbers.
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