Brazil Brings Back Air Travel Mask Mandate

Brazil is bringing back its air travel mask mandate. They say a surge in Covid-19 cases makes this urgent, but the rule isn’t going into effect right away. It starts Friday, November 25. Paper masks will be permitted as long as they are two-ply in airports and inflight, and there will be no limits placed on inflight service.

I’d point out,

  • Masks that meet the rules likely do little to stop spread. They aren’t requiring N95 (or better) masking. Level 3 procedure masks are likely ineffective against faster-spreading variants. People can take off their masks to eat and drink. In fact, masks aren’t required while in airport food courts.

  • Most Brazilians don’t fly, and most spread isn’t on planes. So this has little effect over the course of the virus, even if P100 masks were required.

  • The country is not requiring masks in restaurants and bars as people gather to watch the World Cup.

Acrylic and plastic masks won’t be allowed. Neither will bandanas or masks with valves.

Meanwhile, a transportation mask mandate is effectively Spain’s only remain Covid precaution, and Iberia is calling for it to end. Passengers are booking away from Iberia and avoiding Madrid connections for transatlantic travel, or are surprised when they board and learn of the mandate.

(HT: One Mile at a Time)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. If so ‘urgent,’ why isn’t it being implemented immediately? If so ‘urgent,’ why allow unmasked public gatherings? Why allow people to gather at all?

    Typical government overreach.

  2. “Dr.” Leff’s bogus and uninformed claims about the ineffectiveness masks notwithstanding, I am glad that considerably smarter people are in charge of making decisions about whether or not to require passengers to mask up. With the DoJ getting a Florida MAGA judge’s ruling that the CDC has no right to impose mask mandates tossed out on appeal, be ready to see the US reimpose the mask mandate if scientific evidence says that would better protect the public.

  3. I also didn’t know about Spain’s mask mandate, and was strongly considering booking Iberia through Madrid with a couple day stopover.

    Glad I read this before doing so. They aren’t wrong about people booking away from them because of the mandate.

  4. @DCS, the statement that “Masks that meet the rules likely do little to stop spread.”, most doctors and known epidemiologists have also stated that cloth and paper masks which are allowed by the rules are almost zero in effectiveness. Mr Leff did not say ALL kinds of masks are ineffective which is a whole other debatable topic.

  5. And I opened the article linked regarding Iberia, where its said ““We’re the only country along with China and one or two more that still has this rule.”

    Actually theres quite a few airlines still carrying on with these rules, mainly based out of Asian, Middle Eastern, and African countries (ME3, Air India, EgyptAir, etc)

    Spain is the last western country doing this.

  6. @DCS – I did not say masks are ineffective. N95s and P100s are great! Requiring masks, but not ‘good’ masks, does very little and increasingly so as the virus spreads more effectively.

  7. @Gary — You continue to twist yourself into a pretzel trying to say what you really want to say, which is “no masks at all”, but the evidence is that any kind of mask is better than no mask.

  8. Brazil is as Trump would say a “Shithole country”. The more of these third world corrupt dumps that divorce themselves from the rest of the world the better.

  9. For the record Korean Air still requires masks on flights and at ICN airport. And when flying Delta into ICN, they hand out masks just prior to landing – the cheap, markedly less effective OR masks. Time will tell if we (the US) are being foolish in treating COVID as an endemic, no problem now disease, or if we should still be trying to mitigate it. There are enough studies to show that COVID is a bad dude, that long COVID is real and debilitating, and that every time one gets COVID, it is cumulative and does more and more damage to your organs. If in 5 years we have 5-10% of our population disabled with long COVID, our economy will be a wreck and we made the wrong decision. If no problem develops, then we done good. Time will tell.

  10. @Luke

    ME3 have dropped the mask mandate, as has India. China requires it but I’m not sure of many other countries that do. There’s no current list regarding it that I can find.

  11. @DCS ” the evidence is that any kind of mask is better than no mask” please point to evidence specific to current variants that a cloth mask is protective? (We’ve seen some studies suggesting they’re worse.)

  12. Government at the end of the day simply wants to show that they are doing something, no matter how pointless it may be. As a doctor, I understand that “inaction is a perfectly valid course of action”, but to lay people it doesn’t show for much. It’s Public Relations 101.

    That said, unless we go the whole hog like China, a patchwork of changing restrictions isn’t going to do much to stop any spread.

  13. New Radical extreme Left Wing woke Govt….. with a convicted criminal who has done time in jail, now as President…. his first act of bastardry, control the people, take away their freedoms…. let’s hope Bolsonaro’s challenge is succesful and we can get Brazil back to freedom

  14. I’m brazilian. Probably people from other countries don’t know but the fact is Mask use mandate were revoked 3 months ago when covid-19 was 6,5x more effecyive than nowadays… There are a lot of researches that show 70% of covid transmission in Brazil were INSIDE PEOPLES HOMES!!!
    Brazilian schools were the last ones to be opened compared to the rest of the world! Children are paying a high price for this… Pscicologicaly and academic.
    It’s not about covid!!
    Brazilians are losing FREEDOM in so many different ways you can’t even imagine!! Right now there are a lot of journalists suffering for censorship; there are members of supreme court that send people to prision for asking if election system is trustable; there were businessmen – powerfull ones – who had trouble with police and justice for whatsapp chats… right now supreme court members who let Lula da Silva free to run for Presidency – in the durtiest election of BR history – are in US attacking brazilian citizen for criticize them.
    Thats not for COVID19.
    While brazilian are afraid because of the virus or watching happily soccer worldcup circus, they own more and more power and control over us.

  15. @MD Don I’m sorry but are you really comparing the present situation with that one with no vaccine, no natural imunity, more lethal variants, etc?????? Wake up, bro. Don’t be a blind sheep of your fear!!

  16. @Gary — I provided the evidence to the point of getting sick, i.e., ad nauseum. Nothing tells me that it would sway you this time around. It is your site, search and find the links.

  17. Don’t confuse medical facts with the crazies in the USA — no other country had airline incidents like the USA had with its radical right fact-distorting snowflakes whining at having to wear protection.

    Latest proof: Lifting Universal Masking in Schools led to more COVID-19 infections (and therefore deaths). Peer-reviewed study based on real-life USA data.

  18. The face diaper is a complete joke and does nothing to stop the spread from this ongoing fraud. On another note, the Washington Post has admitted that a majority of people dying from Covid were “vaccinated”. Now we have two things that are ineffective.

  19. @DCS

    We won’t wear them again.
    We also have science on our side when it comes to masks.

    Also the amount of people dying because of the vac is off the charts. There will be riots in the street when the truth comes out.

  20. @jake BAHHHHH your cherry picked “science” by questionable sources confirms you are one of the scared sheep. YOU stay home in your bubble. SCIENCE

  21. As a Brazilian, I’m ashamed they brought this back and the general mess the country is in.

    Unfortunately, we can’t blame the new president Lula as he doesn’t take power until January.

    I’m not sure if this is politically motivated or just jobsworth civil servants. It makes absolutely no sense to wear masks in planes if you don’t have any symptoms while the buses, bars, and restaurants are packed with people screaming and drinking while the footie is on.

    If you want to wear a mask, go on, do it, as a healthy person who accepted 4 doses of this vaccine, the flu vaccine, and had covid twice, I’ll take my chances and will wear one if I’m coughing, otherwise, I won’t.

  22. I flew Iberia 4 times 2 weeks ago and WAS SHOCKED to find out at THE GATE it was required. Went to 7-11, Hudson News, Restaurants, THEY LAUGHED AT ME AND SAID NO ONR NEEDS THEM ANYMORE SO WE STOPPED SELLING THEM. Luckily I went back to TSA a scrounge up 5 (since they said I have to change ldisposable masks every 2 hrs…..Numerous other passengers had additional issues and were surprised as well. I booked though AA on a OneWorld JV flight: Should have been infomed. Never again on Iberia

  23. @DCS It’s impressive to see someone not only suggest that the emperor is wearing clothes, but that the clothes he wears saves lives.

    Please keep posting nonsense. It reminds the rest of us that we still need to be vigilant in our efforts to ignore people like you.

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