Scandinavian Airlines Drops Mask Requirements for Regional Flights; U.S. Mandate Continues to 01/2022

Airplanes of the Scandinavian Airlines' SAS company park on ground at the Gardamoen Airport during a strike of pilots to contest wages and working hours on April 26, 2019 in Oslo, Norway. - Pilots at SAS walked off the job in Sweden, Denmark and Norway, stranding 70,000 travellers as more …

Four Scandinavian airlines have dropped mask requirements for passengers traveling on regional flights between Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.

Masks will still be required on flights departing and arriving from those countries to other destinations.

SAS, Norwegian, Widerøe, and Fly have all lifted the mask requirement.

“Due to the opening of societies and general recommendations from authorities in Scandinavia, SAS is, from 18 October 2021, removing the requirement for mandatory use of face masks on flights within Scandinavia,” a statement posted on the SAS website on Friday said.

“The Norwegian infection control guide no longer requires domestic passengers to wear face masks, so this requirement will no longer apply on board Wideroe’s flights,” Wideroe airline’s spokeswoman Silje Brandvoll told Norwegian Radio.

The Independent reported on the development:

The move comes after all three countries removed most of their on the ground Covid-19 rules and restrictions. Each country has reported success with their vaccine rollout and low cases and hospitalisation rates mean life has largely returned to normal.

Although masks won’t be required in-flight within the three countries, many airports in the region – such as Stockholm’s Arlanda and Copenhagen’s Kastrup – do still have a mask rule in place.

Sweden eased most of its domestic Covid-related restrictions at the end of September, with Health and Social Affairs Minister Lena Hallengren saying: “The important message is that we now take further steps in the return to normal everyday life.

Norwegian’s communications director, Esben Tuman, said in the Independent report:

It is important to point out that those who still want to wear a face mask, either because they are worried about infection or want to be courteous to others, are of course very welcome to do so. Our view has all the time been that restrictions should be lifted as soon as possible.

“Now the time has come to return to a normal daily life,” Norway’s Prime Minister, Erna Solberg, said.

“We’re back – now also without a face mask!” Norwegian tweeted on Thursday.

The Transportation Safety Administration announced in August that the mask requirement on U.S. flights and at U.S. airports will be in place until January 18, 2022.

The rule also applies to domestic public transportation. The TSA announced:

All commuters and travelers should check with the CDC website for additional guidance. Exemptions to the face mask requirement for travelers under the age of 2 years old and those with certain disabilities as well as civil penalty fines will also remain in place.

The TSA called these restrictions part of its “Stay Healthy, Stay Secure,” campaign.

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