Passengers flying with Emirates, flydubai and Etihad Airways are no longer required to wear a face mask when traveling, following an announcement from UAE authorities to scrap the mask mandate in public places such as schools and shopping malls.
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The UAE's National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) announced on Monday that residents will no longer be required to wear face coverings in educational establishments as well as in malls, supermarkets, hotels, and restaurants as of September 28.
Airlines quickly followed suit and relaxed their own mask wearing guidelines.
“Wearing a face mask is optional in the UAE and on Emirates flights,” Emirates said on its website.
From September 28, passengers traveling to Dubai with Flydubai can also travel without covering their face, with the airline adding on its website that at the airport “wearing a facemask is optional and not mandatory.”
Etihad Airways has also relaxed its rules around masks on board. However, passengers traveling to a number of destinations including India, China and the Maldives will still have to wear one, the airline said on its website.
According to the new rules laid out by NCEMA - the body that has been managing the COVID-19 pandemic in the UAE - masks will only be required in places of worship, in hospitals and on public transport.
The COVID-19 home isolation period will be now reduced from 10 days to five days, while only the person who tests positive for COVID-19 will be required to quarantine, not someone who has been in close contact with them, NCEMA also announced on Monday.
The country took firm measures to combat the outbreak of the virus since COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic in 2020.
The UAE ramped up measures to tackle the outbreak of the highly contagious Omicron variant of the virus that pushed daily COVID-19 numbers up earlier this year and in June, NCEMA reemphasized that it would strictly enforce mask rules – with penalties for those flouting the protocol.
The average rate of daily COVID-19 infections recorded by the Gulf country has declined since these measures were re-emphasized.