Canadians will now be required to wear non-medical face masks or face coverings on flights, according to new measures introduced by Transport Canada on Friday.
Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau announced the new measures, which will come into effect at noon EDT on April 20.
The new requirement applies in the following circumstances:
- At Canadian airport screening checkpoints, where the screeners cannot always keep two metres of separation between themselves and the traveller
- When travellers cannot physically distance from others, or as directed by the airline employees
- When directed to do so by a public health order or public health official
Transport Canada says aviation passengers leaving or arriving at Canadian airports will also have to “demonstrate they have the necessary non-medical mask or face covering during the boarding process otherwise they will not be allowed to continue on their journey.”
As for marine transportation, travellers are being encouraged to wear non-medical masks or face coverings.
When feasible, ferry operators and essential vessels should provide messaging to travellers about wearing non-medical masks or face coverings during their trip in situations where they can’t maintain the appropriate physical distancing measures from others. These vessels should also make clear to passengers that they could be denied boarding if they fail to comply.
The same recommendations go for those travelling on rail, motor carrier, or bus modes of transportation.
“Passengers may be asked by the transportation operator to cover their noses and mouths when physical distancing is not possible,” said Transport Canada.
Canadians are being reminded that wearing a face mask or covering your mouth or nose can prevent your respiratory droplets from landing on surfaces or contaminating others.
Wearing a non-medical mask does not mean individuals can disregard public health measures to slow the spread of the virus such as physical distancing and thorough hand-washing.
“Canadians should continue to follow public health advice and stay at home if possible. 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,” said Garneau in a statement.
“Transport Canada will continue to ensure various transportation systems adapt to the most effective, preventive measures to protect Canadians.”