Europe is loosening up: Various corona restrictions were lifted on Monday in European travel as well as in Austria and France. According to a recommendation by the EU authorities, wearing a mask on planes and at airports is no longer automatically mandatory across Europe; the decision lies with the individual member countries.

The EU recommendation to the 27 member countries, which has been in force since Monday, does not mean that the obligation to wear masks in air traffic is automatically abolished throughout Europe. Rather, it continues to exist where the national corona rules provide for the wearing of the mask on public transport. This is the case in Germany, for example. According to the Federal Ministry of Health, the mask requirement should initially be retained on all flights that take off or land in Germany.

Austria is also sticking to the mask requirement in air traffic for the time being – but all corona-related entry restrictions have now been abolished. To the delight of the important tourism industry in the Alpine republic, 3G proof (vaccinated, recovered, tested) is no longer necessary. This means that for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, holidaymakers, returnees and other visitors from all over the world can enter Austria again without restrictions.

If a new virus variant emerges, according to the government in Vienna, testing, registration and quarantine requirements can quickly be imposed again for people entering the country from certain countries. At the moment, however, the pandemic in Austria has slowed down significantly. As on Sunday, according to official information, there was not a single Covid 19 fatality on Monday. A good 2,600 new infections were reported within one day.

In France, on the other hand, since Monday it has no longer been compulsory to wear a corona mask in public transport, this applies to buses and trains, taxis and also airplanes. Protective masks only have to be worn in hospitals and retirement homes. A health pass must still be presented there – i.e. visitors must be vaccinated, recovered or tested negative.

In public transport, on the other hand, the mask can be left out in France: “I feel free,” said 26-year-old Jaceula Madimba in the Paris metro on Monday. “I couldn’t really breathe with the mask on.”

The incidence in France is currently less than 400 cases per 100,000 inhabitants per week. On Monday, there were still around 1,200 Covid patients in intensive care across the country.

“This is in line with our strategy of further reducing the restrictions,” Health Minister Olivier Véran explained in advance of the further easing of the mask requirement. “The situation is improving, even if we haven’t quite gotten over the fifth wave yet.” The International Film Festival begins in Cannes on Tuesday – also without the obligation to wear masks.