The New COVID-19 Recommendations for Canadian Travellers
In order to decrease the spread of COVID-19, the Minister of Transport stated that effective April 20, 2020, Canadian air passengers will be required to wear a non-medical face mask or face covering while travelling. Canadians travelling by rail, ferry, taxi, bus or other mode of transport, must also use a non-medical face mask when physical distancing is difficult to maintain. These current recommendations are for Canadians who are unable to avoid travel.
A non-medical (cloth) mask or face covering can help keep the wearer’s droplets out of the air and off surfaces. Cloth masks should be made with 100% cotton, with at least two layers of fabric and large enough to cover the nose and mouth comfortably without gaping. The mask should be easy to remove for safety and security purposes.
Public Health Hygiene Recommendations
Routine public health recommendations to prevent COVID-19 should still be adhered to while travelling.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
- Maintain physical distancing
- Use hand sanitizer when hand washing is not available
Guidelines for Specific Modes of Transportation
When travelling by air on flights arriving or departing at Canadian airports, non-medical masks are to be worn during the flight, or as directed by airline employees, at Canadian airport screening checkpoints, and when directed by public health. When purchasing tickets on line or at the counter, airlines will notify passengers that non-medical face masks are required for travel.
Ferries or passenger vessels
Travellers who must travel by ferry, or other passenger vessels, should maintain physical distancing. In the event, physical distancing is not possible, a non-medical mask should be worn. Passengers can be denied boarding if they do not follow operator guidelines. Passengers on ferries will be able to remain in their vehicles during sailing.
Rail carriers are ensuring physical distancing is maintained for passengers. Transport Canada is providing recommendations for rail carriers to require travellers wear non-medical masks when physical distancing is not possible.
Taxis or buses
When travelling by car (taxi) or bus operators, rear boarding buses and barriers to separate the driver and passenger are currently in place. Non-medical masks are to be worn when physical distancing is unavoidable. Transport Canada is recommending voluntary measures for operators to decrease the risk of transmission.
Travellers Exempt from Wearing a Mask
Those travellers who will not be required to wear a mask: Children under two years of age and people with underlying medical conditions.
Where to Purchase Non-Medical Masks
Cloth masks are available for purchase and widely available online: Etsy, Ebay or Amazon. Search online to find a suitable mask that can also be delivered to your home.
Non-medical masks are recommended by the Government of Canada to ensure the supply of medical and N95 masks are available to health care providers. Commercial or medical masks can also be used for travel.
To avoid COVID-19, ensure you are following the public health agency of Canada’s recommendations. Using a mask is now essential for travelling and when you are unable to maintain physical distancing.