World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has called upon all travelers to don protective face masks to show they “wear to care” in the “new normal” of traveling. As countries transition from lockdowns to reopening their borders, the wearing of face masks helps signal the return of safer travels, while providing personal protection for users, as well as those around them.
The advice from WTTC in favor of mandatory mask wearing comes from evidence that countries that are recovering faster and avoiding second COVID-19 spikes are those where the use of face masks have been widely enforced and encouraged.
Following medical guidance from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, WTTC advises the wearing of masks on all forms of transport throughout the entire traveler journey, as well as when visiting any interior venue or those with restricted movement which results in close personal contact of two meters or less. WTTC has asked governments around the globe to enforce the wearing of face masks, as well as enlisting the support of the private sector to remind customers of their obligations to protect their health and that of fellow travelers.
Travelers around the world are being encouraged to join in the WTTC social media campaign, which is launching with the hashtag #wear2care.
Embracing the use of face masks will reduce the risk of transmission, protect the user and those around them, as well as reintroducing a sense of normality. as we learn to live with the virus until a vaccine is found.
The new recommendations follow in the wake of WTTC recently issuing its new guidelines for Safe & Seamless Travel including testing and tracing to ensure people can enjoy Safe Travels in the “new normal.”
Gloria Guevara, WTTC president and CEO, said: “The safety and hygiene of travellers and those who work in travel and tourism is of paramount importance, which is why we now strongly recommend masks being mandatory. ‘Wear to care’ promotes the protection of face mask users and visibly shows they care about the welfare and safety of their fellow travelers, which will help save lives and encourage the return of Safe Travels.”
Ramon Sánchez, principal investigator and research associate at Harvard University, T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said in a press announcement, “Wearing face masks has been proven to provide the highest level of protection against transmission at 82%. Constant hand hygiene and surface cleaning, which kills more than 90% of viruses that are found on surfaces, also prevents the virus from reaching the face from the hands.
“The public should keep a two-meter (six-foot) distance whenever they can; however, if that simply isn’t possible, people should increase the ventilation around them,” he further added. “Inside buildings this can be done by opening doors and windows which decreases the viral concentration by more than 70%. Mechanical ventilation, such as air conditioning decreases it by 80%, while going outdoors proves more effective by decreasing the viral concentration between 90% and 95%.”
Travelers around the world can get involved with the WTTC campaign by sharing pictures of the themselves proudly travelling with their masks and sharing the hashtag #wear2care.