N.W.T. to make masks mandatory inside airport terminal buildings

Starting Oct. 13, travellers and employees will be required to wear a mask while inside Northwest Territories’ airport terminal buildings.

The order comes into effect Oct. 13

Inside the arrival area of the Yellowknife Airport. Starting next week, masks will be mandatory throughout airport terminal buildings across the territory. (John Van Dusen / CBC)

Starting next Tuesday, travellers and employees will be required to wear a mask while inside Northwest Territories' airport terminal buildings.

The territory announced the order on Thursday.

"While the best way to protect yourself and your community is to stay at home and not travel outside of the N.W.T., we want to ensure that people who need to travel, as well as airport staff, are safe in our airports," read a statement by the territory's Infrastructure Minister Diane Archie.

"The health and safety of N.W.T. residents and communities is our main priority and we ask and thank passengers for their cooperation."

Since April, Transport Canada has required passengers to wear a mask while going through security and while on a flight.

The government says the public is encouraged to bring their own mask, though there may be some available at the 27 airports it operates across the territory.

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The order does not apply to children under the age of two or people with a medical issue preventing them from wearing a mask.

Individuals will be allowed to temporarily remove their mask to eat, drink, take oral medications or for identification purposes.

"As passenger traffic continues to increase, this requirement will help keep travellers and employees safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic," the statement read. 

The territory also says that until further notice, only passengers, employees and service staff are permitted inside Northwest Territories' airports.

Those who are dropping someone off or picking someone up are not allowed to enter.