Government of Canada says it will stop requiring masks on planes

TORONTO — The Canadian government announced Monday that it will no longer require people to wear masks on planes to protect against COVID-19.

Transport Canada said existing rules for masks will be scrapped October 1

“We are able to do this because tens of millions of Canadians have rolled up their sleeves and gotten vaccinated,” said Transport Minister Omar Alghabra.

Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said negative attitudes from some passengers have made it difficult for airlines and crews to enforce the mask mandate in recent months, and cited this as a factor in the decision.

Government officials have also confirmed that Canada is dropping the vaccine requirement for people entering the country at the end of the month. The Associated Press reported last week that it was likely.

Canada, like the United States, requires foreign nationals to be vaccinated when entering the country. No mandate changes are expected in the United States in the short term.

Unvaccinated foreign travelers who are permitted to enter Canada are currently subject to mandatory on-arrival testing and a 14-day quarantine.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has agreed to allow a Cabinet Order in Council imposing mandatory COVID-19 vaccination requirements at the border to expire on September 30.

The government is also ending random COVID-19 testing at airports. There will no longer be a need to fill in information in what has become an unpopular ArriveCan app. Some blamed him for delays at airports.

The government will also no longer be required to subject passengers to pre-boarding tests for cruise ships.

“The removal of border measures was facilitated by a number of factors, including modeling that indicates Canada is well past the peak of the wave fueled by Omicron BA.4 and BA.5, Canada’s high vaccination rates , lower hospitalizations and deaths. as well as the availability and use of booster vaccines (including a new bivalent formulation), rapid tests and treatments for COVID-19,” the government said in a statement.

Removing the vaccination mandate for non-citizens entering Canada means that unvaccinated professional athletes like Major League Baseball players would be allowed to play in Toronto in the playoffs if the Blue Jays qualified for the playoffs. .

This would also apply to the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League. Unvaccinated players are currently not allowed to cross the border into Canada.

The Public Health Agency of Canada still strongly recommends people wear masks, especially in crowded environments like planes and trains.

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