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Lifting of the mask in the United States: Ottawa maintains the obligation to wear a mask

Unlike the United States, the Government of Canada has no intention at this time of allowing airlines or rail companies to waive the mask-wearing requirement imposed on passengers.

• Read also: United States: the obligation of the mask in public transport invalidated

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“Our top priority, since the start of the pandemic, has been to keep everyone safe. […] We take a multi-level approach […] and masks remain a very useful tool against COVID-19,” said Valérie Glazer on behalf of the Cabinet of Transport Minister Omar Alghabra on Tuesday.

“There is no change to the current policy in Canada, continued the director of communications of the firm, in response to questions from the Log. We will continue to base all of our mask-wearing decisions on public health advice to keep our transportation sector safe.”

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Washington dismissed

On Monday, US airlines made mask-wearing optional, immediately after a judge ruled illegal Washington’s decision last week to extend the mask-wearing requirement by three weeks (until May 3). mask on public transport in the United States.

Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, magistrate of Tampa, Florida, considered in her decision that the American health authorities had exceeded their prerogatives by imposing this obligation on employees and passengers of planes, trains, subways and coaches, among others.

Several American airlines, such as United Airlines, Delta Airlines and Jet Blue, immediately announced that the mask would no longer be mandatory, at least on their domestic flights. Rail carrier Amtrak followed suit, followed yesterday by other public transit companies like Uber and Lyft.

No impact in Canada

United Airlines said the change was effective on its flights within the United States and on some international flights, depending on the rules in the country of arrival. “This means that our employees no longer have to wear masks – or impose them on passengers in most cases. They can choose to wear one, especially since the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] continue to strongly recommend it for public transport,” a United Airlines spokesperson said.

However, Ottawa specifies that the requirements for wearing a mask in Canada continue to apply to all carriers – whether Canadian or not – for the duration of the flight.

The decision of the American court would therefore have no impact on the Canadian rules, which apply to all flights to and from a Canadian airport.