Canada to scrap mask mandate on planes, joining Japan, Hong Kong and U.A.E. in lifting COVID restrictions

The Canadian government announced Monday it will no longer require people to wear masks on planes to guard against COVID-19, the Associated Press reported. 

The rules will be lifted Oct. 1. Government officials also confirmed that Canada is dropping the vaccine requirement for people entering the country at the end of the month. The U.S. is not expected to follow suit in the near term.

The news comes at a time when many other places, including Japan and Hong Kong, are lifting travel restrictions. The United Arab Emirates is dropping mask requirements in public places, with the exception of medical facilities, mosques and public transportation, according to a Monday report from the official Emirates News Agency cited by the AP.

Dubai’s airport, the world’s busiest for international travel, was forced to ground all passenger flights when it, along with other U.A.E. airports, closed for eight weeks at the start of the pandemic in 2020. Unlike the capital city of Abu Dhabi, however, Dubai reopened to travelers soon after and did not require proof of vaccination or a negative test to enter most places, which landed it on the “do not travel” lists of the U.K., U.S. and many other countries for much of last year.