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Queensland scraps mask mandate at airports

written by Hannah Dowling | June 15, 2022

A Singapore Airlines A350-900 (9V-SMB) at Brisbane Airport (William Percival-Hayes)

Queensland has become the first state to scrap the requirement for travellers to wear face masks within the airport terminal as other governments mull a similar move.

Queensland Minister for Health Yvette D’Ath announced on Wednesday afternoon that, as of midnight on Friday, travellers passing through Queensland airport will no longer be required to wear a mask at all times.

The state governments in Western Australia and the Northern Territory have since also announced the end to their mask mandates in airports, as of Saturday.

It comes after the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) on Tuesday recommended the government end the mask mandate in airport terminals.

The mandate could be lifted nationwide as soon as midnight on Friday should individual state and territory governments also accept the recommendation made by the AHPPC.

“AHPPC considers that it is no longer proportionate to mandate mask use in airport terminals,” D’Ath said.

“From midnight this Friday the mask mandate in Queensland airports will be lifted. Passengers will still be required to wear masks on planes, in line with AHPPC’s advice.”

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Brisbane Airport Corporation’s head of public affairs Stephen Beckett welcomed the decision, stating it was good news “not just for passengers and airport visitors, but importantly for the tens of thousands of employees who work at airports.”

“We’ve received feedback from those working in the terminal that the requirement to wear a mask for a full 8-to-12-hour shift can be quite challenging,” he said.

“This now means that café workers at the Brisbane Airport can work mask free, just like those working in an indoor food court just up the road.”

“We do hope that other states and territories follow suit, and consistently remove mask mandate across all jurisdictions,” he added.

The AHPPC said on Tuesday that it had “reviewed the current COVID-19 situation in Australia and revised the need for mandated mask wearing in certain settings”.

“The AHPPC notes that all states and territories have relaxed mask mandates in most settings within the community and considers that it is no longer proportionate to mandate mask use in airport terminals.

“The AHPPC proposes that mask wearing in airport terminals no longer be mandated from as early as midnight 17 June 2022.”

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