Effective noon EDT (9 am PST) Monday, April 20, 2020, passengers travelling by air in Canada will be required to cover their nose and mouth with a non-medical mask or face covering on all flights.
Marc Garneau, the Minister of Transport, announced the new measures in a press release on Friday, and they will be implemented starting today.
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“COVID-19 is a global public health challenge that has changed the daily lives of people around the world,” the release explains, “and ensuring the safety and security of Canadians remains the Government of Canada’s top priority.”
When travelling by air, travellers will be required to cover their nose and mouth in the following instances:
- At Canadian airport screening checkpoints, where screeners are not always able to maintain a two-metre distance between themselves and the traveller
- When the passenger is unable to physically distance themselves from others, or as directed by airline employees
- When instructed to do so by a public health order or public health official
Additionally, all passengers aboard flights arriving at or departing Canadian airports will be required to prove that they have the necessary non-medical face mask or face covering during the boarding process.
If they are unable to do so, they will not be permitted to continue their journey.
This new policy, however, is not meant to encourage people to travel at this time.
“Canadians should continue to follow public health advice and stay at home if possible,” Minister Garneau explains in the release.
“However, if you need to travel, wearing a face-covering is an additional measure you can take to protect others around you, especially in situations where physical distancing guidelines cannot be maintained.”
Travellers journeying on marine, rail, or motor carrier/buses are also strongly encouraged to cover their nose and mouth with non-medical masks or face coverings as much as possible.
In terms of ferries, operators and “essential passenger vessels” will, when practical, provide public messaging to passengers regarding the necessity of having a non-medical mask or face covering to cover their nose and mouth when they travel if they are not able to maintain the allotted physical distance.
Passengers may be denied boarding if they fail to comply.
“Transport Canada will continue to ensure various transportation systems adapt to the most effective, preventive measures to protect Canadians,” Garneau stated.