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Canadians will be required to wear non-medical face masks on flights, says federal government

The new measure goes into effect at 9 a.m. PST on Monday, April 20.
Canadian air passengers will be required to wear non-medical masks or face coverings during travel, the federal government announced Friday. Photograph by VALERIE LEUNG

Canadians will now be required to wear non-medical masks or face coverings on flights, Federal Minister of Transport Marc Garneau announced Friday.

This means that all air travellers will need to wear a face covering or non-medical mask at screening checkpoints at Canadian airports, when directed to by a public health order, public health official, or airline employees, and when they can’t physically distance themselves from others.

The new measure – intended to help curb the spread of COVID-19 – will come into effect noon EDT (9 a.m. PT) Monday April 20.

“Canadians should continue to follow public health advice and stay at home if possible,” said Garneau.

“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.”

Passengers arriving to or departing from Canadian airports will also be required 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.

People travelling by water are encouraged to wear non-medical masks whenever possible.

In addition, all operators of ferries and essential passenger vehicles will provide public messaging to travellers about the need to have a non-medical mask or face covering when they cannot physically distance from others, and that passengers could be denied boarding if they fail to comply.

Passengers travelling by rail, vehicle or bus are also encouraged to wear non-medical masks. They may also be asked by the transportation operator to cover their noses and mouths when physical distancing isn’t possible.  

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