December 16, 2020
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Russia’s flagship airline Aeroflot is seen on an Airbus A320 PHOTO BY JEAN-PAUL PELISSIER /REUTERS
By REUTERS STAFF
MOSCOW – Russia’s flagship airline Aeroflot said on Tuesday it would designate a special seating area on its aircrafts for passengers refusing to wear medical masks.
In a statement to reporters, Aeroflot spokeswoman Yulia Spivakova said: “Dedicated seats are allocated to passengers who declare their refusal to use masks after (the aircraft’s) doors close.”
She added this was a common practice worldwide and a necessary measure.
Aeroflot said on Monday that passengers would only be allowed to board its flights wearing a mask that fully covered their mouth and nose.
Russia grounded international commercial flights during the coronavirus lockdown it imposed earlier this year. It has since resumed flights to some destinations, including the United Kingdom, Turkey and Tanzania.
Russian commuters and shoppers are required to wear medical masks and gloves on public transport, at supermarkets and other public facilities. In practice, however, these rules are not always strictly followed and enforced.
Since the start of the pandemic, Russia has reported around 2.7 million infections and nearly 48,000 deaths.
Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov; Writing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Ed Osmond