Starting Monday (April 20), people flying to and from Canadian airports will be required to wear masks in the latest move by transport officials to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Passengers won’t be allowed to board their flight unless they have non-medical face coverings, Minister Marc Garneau announced Friday (April 17).
Travellers will need to wear their mask while at screening checkpoints and when they cannot physically distance at least six feet apart from others.
Masks are being encouraged for passengers on boats, ferries, trains and buses but aren’t being made mandatory by Transport Canada.
“Canadians should continue to follow public health advice and stay at home if possible,” Garneau said in a statement. “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.”
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness which has no cure or vaccine. It is transmitted from an infected person to others when they cough, sneeze or expel droplets.
Health officials have urged the public to not use N95 or medical-grade masks, as they are in short supply for health-care workers.
Last week, B.C.’s provincial health officer said in an opinion piece that people can use non-medical masks but they should not replace physical distancing or frequent hand washing. Those who feel sick should still stay home and away from others.
“A non-medical cloth mask or face covering, while helpful in containing your own droplets, will not protect you from COVID-19, nor is wearing one required of you if you can keep your safe distance from others,” she wrote.
“Moreover, using a cloth mask does not give you permission to disregard physical distancing and self-isolation orders. Indeed, these, along with respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene, remain the key proven measures to stop transmission.”