Nfld. & Labrador

Mandatory temperature checks coming to YYT, as N.L. records no new cases Monday

St. John's International Airport will begin screening all departing passengers this week, an announcement that comes as Newfoundland and Labrador records no new cases of COVID-19 on Monday.

Same regulations exist in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary

The new rules take effect Sept. 23 at St. John's International Airport. Similar rules are in effect at some other Canadian airports, including Vancouver International, seen here. (YVR)

St. John's International Airport will begin screening all departing passengers this week, an announcement that comes as Newfoundland and Labrador records no new cases of COVID-19 on Monday.

The province currently has one active case of the virus. The total caseload is 272, with 268 people recovered and three deaths.

There were 380 new people tested since the previous update on Sunday.

Starting Wednesday, all people flying out of YYT will have their temperature taken, and so will non-passengers who are entering the secure area of the airport. 

The measures are already in place at the four biggest Canadian airports — Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver.

Eleven airports considered to the next busiest are now required to adopt the extra measures, which will be carried out by the Canadian Air Transport Authority.

Any passenger with a temperature above 38 C on both of two possible readings will not be permitted to enter the screening checkpoint at any airport in Canada for two weeks. The only exception is if a person provides a doctor's note that states their higher temperature is not related to COVID-19.

Peter Avery says St. John's International Airport is dealing with a dramatic drop in traffic. (Mark Quinn/CBC)

Peter Avery, the airport's chief administrative officer, explained that people who register a temperature of above 38 C will be able to take a second test 10 minutes later. If they fail a second time, they will have to retrieve their bags and rebook with their airline.

He said the screening routine will look similar to other facilities that perform temperature screening, scanning the traveller's forehead with a handheld thermometer.

"It's another, I guess, tool in the toolkit. It doesn't actually determine if someone is COVID-positive but it sort of certainly helps. It's another element to minimize the risk of traveling," Avery said Monday.

"To my knowledge, its gone fairly well at the other airports in Canada."

Some airlines have already mandated temperature checks, including for Newfoundland and Labrador travellers, but the new announcement is issued by Transport Canada, so it's a regulation that now applies across the board, instead of at the discretion of airlines. 

Masks are mandatory at the St. John's International Airport, along with many airports around the world.  

Staggering statistics

Avery attended the launch of the new service by Provincial Air Lines from St. John's to Moncton.  The route will operate four times a week. Avery said he expected a good uptake on the non-stop service. 

However, bright spots in the airline industry are few and far between amid COVID-19. 

Avery said the pandemic continues to ravage air travel, with the number of passengers plummeting. 

Masks were made mandatory in the St. John's International Airport in July. (Gary Locke/CBC)

St. John's International Airport had about 30,000 passengers pass through this August, compared with 180,000 in August 2019. 

"It is generally trending very slowly in the upward direction, and with some uptake with the Atlantic Bubble. But what we really need is the restrictions to be lifted to the rest of Canada before we see any major movement."

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Mark Quinn

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