Mask or unmask: Toronto Pearson travelers react to Canada’s updated border measures
The Government of Canada has announced that COVID-19 restrictions at Canada’s borders would be lifted Saturday, signaling the end of mandatory vaccinations, random testing, quarantine, use of the ArriveCan app and masks on planes and trains.
Federal ministers have confirmed that the cabinet will not renew the order maintaining border measures against COVID-19 when it expires on September 30. Travelers to Canada will no longer be subject to random COVID-19 testing, and unvaccinated Canadians will not need to self-isolate upon returning for the country.
The much-discussed ArriveCan app is no longer mandatory. Perhaps surprisingly, as part of the announcement, the Liberal government confirmed that masks would no longer be mandatory on planes and trains.
Some travelers at Pearson Airport have already removed mask-wearing, but others say they will continue to wear face coverings in various public places, including airports and airplanes.
Ron tells CityNews he is part of the latter group.
« We should follow the laws, » Ron said. “Doing scientific research [what works best].”
Here at Terminal 1 Pearson, I would easily say that more than 10% of travelers – and some airport employees – are already openly walking around without a mask. Terms don’t end until Saturday. Details now with myself and @cmaconthehill now @CityNewsTO and https://t.co/sqfQAD4xr2 pic.twitter.com/NQQlE2eTII
—Mark Douglas (@DouglasCityNews) September 26, 2022
One woman, who frequently travels in and out of Pearson, says she found wearing masks on the plane rather uncomfortable.
« I didn’t mind wearing one to stay protected, but it got tedious, especially on long flights, » Tierra said in an email to CityNews.
« I would wonder if there was even a point [to the mask]. If I’m sitting next to strangers and we all take off our masks to eat or drink, then what happens? The virus can spread.
Tierra said she would have continued to wear one had the public health measure been extended, but she is happy with the government’s decision.
“I am all for staying safe. On the short flights, I really didn’t care,” she continued.
“But I recently flew to Europe non-stop. Wearing a mask for that long, seven or eight hours, was awful.
« Whoever wants to continue to carry [a mask] should be able to make that decision, but I’ll probably withdraw it once the warrant expires, » she said.
Air Canada supports the government’s decision
The Public Health Agency of Canada still strongly recommends wearing a mask, especially in crowded environments like planes and trains.
In a statement on Monday, Air Canada officials welcomed the news, saying the public health measures « were not justified by science. »
“We believe this will make travel much easier, help continue to stabilize the country’s airline industry and support the Canadian economy,” said Craig Landry, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Air Canada.
« Customers and crew will still have the option to wear masks, and we also encourage customers to monitor their own health to ensure they feel well and fit to travel. »
Landry urged the government « not to lose momentum. »
« Lessons learned during the pandemic should now be applied to streamlining Canada’s air transportation system and implementing further reforms, » he said.
“This includes improving processes, such as airport security and customs, developing new trusted traveler programs, deploying new technologies and, more fundamentally, re-examining the user-pays model that funds air travel in Canada, whose weaknesses and interdependencies have been exposed by COVID-19[FEMININE »[FEMININE »
With files from The Canadian Press