Published on : Tuesday, July 14, 2020
The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) recently called upon all travellers to wear protective face masks as a part of their ‘wear to care’ campaign urging travellers to show care for themselves and others as a part of the new normal of travelling. The move comes following the ease of lockdown restrictions across various countries around the globe as they have slowly started reopening their borders.
The advice from WTTC in favour of mandatory usage of masks comes from evidence that countries which are recovering faster and have successfully avoided the second wave of COVID-19 infections are the ones where use of face masks have been widely enforced and encouraged. WTTC is of the opinion that wearing of face masks acts as a signal of the return of safer travels, while also providing personal protection for users as well as those around them.
The organisation has also advised wearing of masks on all forms of transport throughout the entire traveller journey, as well as when visiting any interior venue or those with restricted movement which results in close personal contact of two metres or less in accordance to the medical guidance provided by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. It has also asked governments around the globe to enforce the wearing of masks, as well as enlisted the support of the private sector to remind customers of their obligations to protect their own health and that of fellow travellers.
WTTC has also established the ‘wear2care’ campaign across all its social media channels and travellers around the world are being encouraged to join the digital campaign by sharing own pictures of proudly travelling with their masks on. The council has repeatedly mentioned that embracing the use of face masks will reduce the risk of transmission, protect the user and those around them, as well as reintroduce a sense of normality as individuals around the world are gradually learning to live in the post-pandemic until a vaccine is established. It has also mentioned that frequent washing of hands and usage of hand sanitiser also contributes towards reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission and complements the use of face masks.
Gloria Guevara, President and CEO, WTTC said in a recent statement that the council has urged to make the usage of masks mandatory by keeping in mind the safety and hygiene of travellers as well as individuals who work in the travel and tourism. She mentioned that the ‘Wear to care’ campaign promotes the protection of face mask users and visibly shows they care about the welfare and safety of their fellow travellers, which will help save lives and encourage the return of Safe Travels. She also said that the wearing of masks should not be politicised and needs to become part of everyday life to ensure everyone enjoys travel safety until a vaccine for COVID-19 is discovered. She also called upon the private sector and global governments to encourage their use so wearing a mask becomes the new normal.
Ramon Sanchez, Principal Investigator and Research Associate, Harvard University, T.H. Chan School of Public Health added that wearing face masks has been proven to provide the highest level of protection against transmission at 82%. He also mentioned that constant hand hygiene and surface cleaning, kills more than 90% of viruses that are found on surfaces and also prevents the virus from reaching the face from the hands. He informed that the public should keep a two metre distance whenever they can, and should also increase the ventilation around them on occasions where distancing is not possible.