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Air travellers must wear masks starting April 20

The federal government has announced new rules requiring all air passengers to have a non-medical mask or face covering to cover their mouth and nose during travel. The new measures come into effect at noon EDT on April 20.
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Travellers are seen at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Friday, March 13, 2020. The Canada Border Services Agency says it is adding new screening questions for travellers arriving in Canada, asking whether they have symptoms of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

The federal government has announced new rules requiring all air passengers to have a non-medical mask or face covering to cover their mouth and nose during travel.

The new measures come into effect at noon EDT on April 20. The government said Friday that masks help to prevent respiratory droplets from contaminating others or landing on surfaces.

“Canadians should continue to follow public health advice and stay at home if possible," said Minister of Transport Marc 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."

When travelling by air, travellers will be asked to cover their mouth and nose:

  • at Canadian airport screening checkpoints, where the screeners cannot always keep two metres of separation between themselves and the traveller;

  • when they cannot physically distance from others, or as directed by the airline employees; and

  • when directed to do so by a public health order or public health official.

Passengers departing or arriving at Canadian airports will be required to demonstrate they have the necessary non-medical mask or face covering during the boarding process, or they will not be allowed to travel.

The measures do not directly apply to marine, rail, or bus travel. The government says travellers are encouraged to wear a mask using those modes of transportation whenever possible.

The only commercial flight out of Fort St. John is now a lone daily WestJet trip to Calgary.

The flight is scheduled six days a week Sunday through Fridays. Some flight days however have been cancelled due to a lack of demand.

The terminal is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and though scheduled flights are down to a minimum, the airport remains open and fully operational to other flights such as medevacs, air cargo, and air tankers.

Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at editor@ahnfsj.ca.