Face masks will be mandatory at Brandon airport starting Friday
Federal rule also requires that all passengers wear face masks on planes
It will soon be mandatory for anyone inside the terminal of the Brandon Municipal Airport to wear a face mask or covering — and a similar change at Winnipeg's airport could also be on the way.
Starting Friday, anyone at the airport in the southwestern Manitoba city will have to bring their own mask to wear while inside the terminal, whether they are travellers or not. The airport will not provide masks, the City of Brandon said in a news release Wednesday.
The policy change is part of the city's response to the COVID-19 pandemic and was needed as the airport gets busier, the release said.
The "growing number of people attending to the terminal for WestJet's summer flight schedule has made it much more difficult for people to properly physical distance while in the terminal building," it said.
Right now, people in the Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport terminal are only required to wear masks while going through security or boarding flights. That stems from Transport Canada's requirement that all air passengers wear face masks, which started in April.
A spokesperson for that airport said while people are still able to maintain physical distancing in the Winnipeg terminal, airport officials are keeping a close eye on at what point that might change.
"We do recognize that, as passenger traffic slowly starts to increase, that we will reach a point where masks will be required in the terminal," said Tyler MacAfee, vice-president of communications for the Winnipeg Airports Authority.
"We're talking weeks, not months."
The airport in Brandon, which is about 200 kilometres west of Winnipeg, will have signs posted reminding people they need to wear a mask, the release said.
Infants two years old or younger will be exempt from the requirement, the release said. People who could be endangered by wearing a mask and those unable to take off their face mask without help will also be exempt from the new rule.
People will not be forced to wear a mask while they are eating, drinking or taking oral medications, or if they have difficulty breathing that is not related to COVID-19, the release said.
Security staff, and people who work for the airport or an airline, will also be able to allow someone to remove their face mask "in cases of special needs or unforeseen circumstances," the release said.