WestJet implements strict mask policy that could lead to year-long travel ban

The WestJet Group is implementing a strict new policy to ensure passengers wear a mask on its flights including the possibility of being denied travel for a year if they refuse.

The airline is also requiring the input of all guests’ contact information at online and kiosk check-in to help with contact tracing in the case of infected individuals on board a flight.

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The WestJet Group includes WestJet, WestJet Encore, WestJet Link and Swoop.

Passengers have been required to wear a mask during travel since April to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

3:58 Concerns raised over the removal of physical distancing measures on airplanes

Concerns raised over the removal of physical distancing measures on airplanes

The airline says starting Sept. 1 that refusal to wear a mask on board one of its flights by passengers over the age of two will be managed through a three-step process. Passengers will first be asked to put a mask on in a discussion with cabin crew and then given a warning that masks are required and compliance is necessary.

If passengers continue to refuse, WestJet says it will result in follow up notification that they will be placed on a no-fly list for travel on any WestJet Group aircraft for 12 months.

Read more: Air travel and COVID-19: Will the industry rebound from its biggest setback?

WestJet Group chief executive Ed Sims says the vast majority of passengers are happy to keep themselves and each other safe by complying.

“This enhanced policy provides clarity on how we will enforce the regulation for those who don’t. Travellers must understand if they choose to not wear a mask, they are choosing not to fly our airlines,” Sims said.

© 2020 The Canadian Press

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