Rex makes masks mandatory for all flights

Regional Express (Rex) has announced it will mandate the use of face masks for all passengers as an extra layer of protection against the spread of COVID-19.

Face masks will be compulsory on all Rex flights from June 1, 2020. Passengers are to use their own masks, or those without masks can purchase one at check-in. Passengers will be denied boarding if they refuse to wear a mask except if there are exceptional reasons.

Passengers must wear masks at Rex check-in counters (or worn immediately after purchasing from a check-in counter), at boarding gates, during tarmac transfer both at boarding and disembarkation (including during bus transfers), and while on-board the aircraft.

"As the country prepares to open the borders and lift the lockdowns, we need to be vigilant now more than ever to ensure that we prevent a second wave of infections which would cause untold economic damage and misery to all communities," Rex national airports manager David Brooksby said.

"The health and safety of passengers and employees is paramount and we thank our passengers for putting up with the inconvenience as an act of consideration for our staff and other passengers.

"Rex has already enforced significant changes to minimise the risk of infection, including the proactive and unprecedented measure of body temperature testing of passengers and employees.

"Since early March, Rex has endeavoured to space out seating allocation of all passengers to facilitate social distancing. Unrelated parties will not be assigned seats next to each other when and where possible."

Meanwhile, Qantas and Jetstar have also introduced a range of measures to "ensure the safety of our passengers".

Both airlines will provide all passngers with a face mask, but stoped short of mandating their use. They are also implementing staggered boarding and disembarkation to reduce crowding and are asking travellers to limit movement around aircraft cabins.

However, they said they would no longer leave an empty seat between passengers to provide a level of social distancing on board, saying it is impractical, unnecessary and would result in exorbitant airfares.