WestJet travellers could face a 12-month ban in new “Zero Tolerance Mask Policy” if a mask or face covering isn’t worn by passengers starting next month.
In the new policy that affects all WestJet Groups including WestJet, WestJet Encore, WestJet Link, and Swoop, it is required that all guests over the age of two wear face masks or face coverings, effective September 1.
Those guests who are non-compliant will face penalties that include “denied boarding, return of the aircraft, to the gate to offload the passenger and the suspension of travel on any WestJet Group aircraft for up to one year,” according to a release.
“Canadian travellers and all of our WestJet Group employees are counting on us to keep them safe and it is our utmost priority to do so,” said Ed Sims, WestJet Group president and CEO.
“Masks are mandated by our regulator and the vast majority of our guests are happy to keep themselves and each other safe by complying. This enhanced policy provides clarity on how we will enforce the regulation for those who don’t. Travellers must understand if they choose to not wear a mask, they are choosing not to fly our airlines.”
Passengers will have three chances if they are non-compliant. They will first be asked to put the mask on in a discussion with cabin crew, the passengers will then be given a warning of the mask requirement, compliance is necessary, if not, then passengers will receive a notice that their non-compliance will lead to them being placed on a no-fly list for the year.
According to the release, it has been mandatory for all travellers to wear face masks or coverings since April 20, 2020, at the airport and in flight.
Travellers that eat or drink while on board are able to do so only if they put their mask back on after they finish.
“As outlined by Transport Canada, travellers requiring an exemption to the regulation for health reasons must produce a certified medical note or will be subject to the measures as outlined.”
As of September 1, the company will also require contact information for travellers flying with them through the 24-hour check-in process and kiosks.
Once it becomes mandatory, guests will not be able to bypass the information on the screen and must fill it out with up-to-date information before they get their boarding pass.
“We continue to work collaboratively with our health partners to adapt our procedures,” said Sims.
“A coordinated approach is essential, and we are advocating for contact tracing enhancements along with the introduction of testing.”