As Canada updates travel guidelines due to the Omicron COVID-19 variant, the Calgary International Airport says it will work closely with the government on the best way to implement the new requirements.
The federal government has banned flights from several countries amid concerns over the new variant. And, as of November 30, unvaccinated individuals aged 12 and up are no longer permitted to board planes or trains in Canada.
Daily Hive got in touch with Calgary International Airport (YYC) to get the latest guidelines for those flying out of, into, or through the airport, and to find out what YYC is doing to maintain a safe travel experience for everyone.
“We have already started working with partners to scale up operations to meet the new requirements,” Krista Ouellette, Calgary Airport Authority Communications Specialist, told Daily Hive on December 2.
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On November 26, the government issued a list of countries from which foreign nationals are not permitted to enter Canada. It included South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, and Mozambique. Additionally, as of November 30, the list has been updated to include Egypt, Malawi, and Nigeria.
Canadian permanent residents, citizens, and Indian Act status holders who have been to any of these countries 14 days before their arrival will be subject to screening, quarantine measures, and enhanced testing, regardless of their vaccination status or COVID-19 history.
As well, all travellers flying in from anywhere but the US will be tested on arrival and will need to self-isolate while they wait for their test results.
“We look forward to more details from federal officials with guidance on some outstanding questions,” said Ouellette, “and will work closely with the government on the best way to implement the new travel requirements at YYC.”
International arrival COVID-19 testing has been in place at YYC since fall 2020. Calgary was the first and only airport in Canada to have a government-approved testing pilot for arriving international passengers.
As of January 2021, testing is managed by the Public Health Agency of Canada, and the federal government will foot the bill for the additional point-of-entry COVID-19 tests.
“We are continuing to prioritize the health and safety of all guests and employees as we focus on delivering a safe and efficient experience in this challenging time,” said Lori DeLuca, spokesperson for the Calgary Airport Authority.
“We are confident that we can adapt to changing public health requirements as we have done since early 2020.”
Ouellette noted that YYC’s website will be updated to reflect further process changes as soon as there is certainty about when they take effect. It’s suggested that, if you are travelling, you should check the Government of Canada guidelines, , and your airline’s website for the most up-to-date information.
On Thursday, Alberta confirmed its fourth case of Omicron in the province, and more than 50 countries have implemented travel measures to delay importation of Omicron since November 28, according to the World Health Organization.
With files from Imaan Sheikh and Laine Mitchell