Shomporko Desk:-Non-medical masks have been required for air travellers in Canada since mid-April to forestall the spread of COVID-19.
But a ministerial order issued Friday shuts an escape clause that may have made it simpler for certain flyers to evade face covers.
Passengers who can’t wear a face mask because of the medical condition now introduce an official doctor’s note stating that they are excluded from the standard, or they will be denied boarding.
Since April 20, it’s been compulsory for air travellers to cover their mouth and nose during air terminal screenings while loading up and consistently during a flight, except if while eating, drinking or taking the oral drug. Infants are not required to wear masks.
WestJet, one of Canada’s two largest airlines, said in an announcement on Twitter that its travellers have worked superbly of sticking to the standard up until now.
“Travellers are required to show that they have a suitable face-covering prior to boarding a WestJet flight and will be asked to temporarily remove the mask while their identification is verified,” the company said. “Should a guest be unable to provide a physician’s exemption, they will be denied travel until the clearance is produced.”
The airline said if travellers want to fly without a mask, they must provide a medical note that:
- has been issued by a medical professional.
- is on the official letterhead.
- is dated.
- clearly states the passenger’s name and that they have a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask.
There are medical reasons that could make wearing a mask difficult, from certain lung conditions to anxiety disorders.
As mandatory mask rules have rolled out in cities across the country during the pandemic, some groups have created and distributed illegitimate medical exemption cards to protest city bylaws.
In Edmonton, the city is offering exemption cards to those who ask — without requiring proof of a medical condition.
Canada’s border with the United States is still closed to nearly all non-residents, and Transport Canada continues to recommend against all non-essential travel. International travellers are required to isolate for 14 days upon their return to Canada.
Photo credit: iStock
News source: CBC News