The government of Canada has introduced new rules insisting that air passengers wear some kind of face covering, part of a growing trend in which masks are becoming an unavoidable part of life.
The measures come into force at midday on Monday April 20 and apply to all trips by air to, from, and within Canada. It is part of a broader response to the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe.
Transport Canada said in a press release that passengers' mouths and noses must be covered at all times while flying, during airport screening, and at other times when people crowd together.
The rules call for non-surgical masks — a less rigorous form of protection than those used by health workers, which are subject to shortages around the world.
A poster produced by Transport Canada said that a mask made from a folded t-shirt or scarf would be sufficient.
Passengers who cannot demonstrate that they have a suitable mask will be denied boarding and can be fined up to 5,000 Canadian dollars, authorities said.
The insistence on masks from Canadian authorities is a part of a host of new requirements introducing masks to virtually every part of everyday life.
The measures are a stark change from just a few months ago, when western health authorities were insisting that face coverings were not an important part of combatting the virus.
Here is a selection of recent changes to encourage face-covering:
- Maryland, New York, and New Jersey have issued orders requiring face-covering in crowded settings.
- The US Centers for Disease Prevention and Control recommends (though does not require) face-covering nationwide in crowded situations.
- Walmart stores in the US now require employees to wear masks and encourage customers to follow suit.
- The government of Germany has issued similar advice.
- In Lombardy, the worst-affected region of Italy, face-covering is compulsory in all outdoor settings.
- In Austria, rules require people to cover their faces while shopping.
- Some cities in France, including Nice, have made face-covering compulsory in public.
- Slovakia and the Czech Republic have made face-covering compulsory at all times outside the home.