Aeroflot, Russia’s flagship airline, announced this week that passengers who refuse to wear face masks onboard will be seated in a designated “maskless” area of the plane.
The decision was announced after Aeroflot declared they would not deny boarding to passengers who refused to wear masks, Reuters reported this week.
Although all passengers will be required to wear a face mask that covers their mouth and nose during boarding, they will have the option of the special seating area once the cabin door closes.
The maskless section will be in the last two rows on the right-hand side of the economy cabin, The Moscow Times reported. The airline has not released any information about if this part of the plane will be sectioned off from the rest of the cabin.
In May, it became required to wear face masks while aboard an aircraft in Russia. According to national news agency TASS, passengers were only allowed to remove their masks during meal service.
Russia reinstated a national mask mandate after COVID-19 cases began to rise in October, and although locals are required to wear a face mask on public transport, in supermarkets and while in other public places, the rules are not strictly enforced or followed.
Russia has reported more than 2.7 million cases of coronavirus and 48,500 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
All U.S. airlines require passengers aged two and older to wear face masks aboard aircraft. Passengers who do not comply may be kicked off their flights or placed on a “no-fly” list that could bar them from future flights with the airline.
Earlier this year, South Shore Line, a commuter rail in Indiana and Chicago, temporarily operated “mask-optional” train cars, but the idea was abandoned within a few weeks after the state enacted stricter public health guidelines, the rail line announced.
Cailey Rizzo is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure, currently based in Brooklyn. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, or at caileyrizzo.com.
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