Heathrow removes face covering mandate at UK’s hub airport

From Wednesday March 16, face coverings at Heathrow will no longer be mandated ©AirTeamImages, Heathrow Terminal 5

Those travelling through Heathrow will no longer be required to wear a face covering after the airport announced that it is moving away from a mandate from Wednesday March 16. In recognition that the pandemic is not over, Heathrow strongly encourages those at the airport to continue wearing a face covering – particularly when coming into close contact with others – although this will no longer be a firm requirement. The change mirrors steps taken by other transport organisations in the UK, and applies across all of Heathrow’s terminals, bus and railway stations and office spaces.

Heathrow’s home carriers British Airways and Virgin Atlantic welcomed the move, signalling that they were preparing to follow suit by dropping the face covering requirement onboard their aircraft as soon as regulatory requirements for their destinations allow. We encourage passengers to check onboard face covering requirements with their airlines before travelling.

The removal of the mandatory requirement reflects society’s move towards learning to live with COVID longer term. It is now possible because of the continued strong protection provided by vaccination programmes around the world. Heathrow will maintain a wide-array of COVID-secure measures – including enhanced ventilation in all terminal buildings – which will help keep people safe on their journeys through the airport. Should a significant rise in COVID cases or a future variant of concern materialise, Heathrow will not hesitate to reinstate the mandatory use of face coverings at the airport.

Face coverings will remain available at the airport to support those who wish to continue wearing them. We know some passengers may feel vulnerable, and we are encouraging colleagues to be respectful and put on a face covering when near a passenger who requests it.

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