Travellers who arrive at Pearson Airport in Mississauga frustrated by new COVID-19 rules
Published December 3, 2021 at 2:17 pm
Travellers arriving at Pearson Airport in Mississauga on flights from everywhere except the U.S. are being tested in increasing numbers for COVID-19, regardless of their vaccination status, the federal government said today.
Many travellers at Pearson have been complaining the past few days that the new, more stringent travel rules announced earlier this week by Ottawa in response to the new Omicron variant lacked clarity with respect to when they’d take effect.
Several frustrated travellers said via Twitter that they arrived here not knowing if they’d be subjected to the tests, and potential quarantine, or not.
@GovCanHealth reg. the mandatory COVID-19 testing at Pearson airport, could you please advise what facility exactly are travellers expected to quarantine at while they await their -ve test result? I’m concerned for a family member who’s travelling to Toronto soon and is diabetic.
— Bianca (@twobees_inapod) December 2, 2021
The federal government announced on Tuesday that all travellers arriving at Pearson and other Canadian airports, except for those arriving from the U.S., must take a COVID-19 test before leaving the airport.
That applies to all travellers, whether they’re fully vaccinated or not. And they’ll have to isolate while awaiting results.
While it was indicated the new travel rules would take effect immediately, that turned out not to be the case.
At its COVID-19 briefing from Ottawa this afternoon, the federal government said it’s working with Pearson Airport officials to increase testing capacity at the airport with an eye towards “ramping up” to eventually testing 100 per cent of travellers arriving from places other than the United States.
One of the issues they’re faced with, Canadian Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said, is lab capacity that needs to be significantly increased.
No final word on when on-arrival testing will start at Toronto Pearson, Canada's busiest airport. A spokesperson says they're working with Ottawa, and that "more information will be available in the coming days." https://t.co/j4a2UG0uwh #Canada #travel #omicron #testing #Toronto
— Canada's Travel Guy (@JimByersTravel) December 2, 2021
Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie said yesterday that the Omicron variant situation continues to quickly evolve, but she’s confident the airport, which is located in Mississauga, is equipped to handle things.
“I know we are staffed up and ready to go so that testing will be and can be done at the airport,” she said, noting the situation is rapidly changing and that Ottawa and others are working hard to keep up.
She added, “I know they’re on deck and ready to react at Pearson Airport.”
Ottawa, Pearson officials and others don’t want a repeat of the situation that unfolded back in February when many arriving travellers simply walked out of the airport without being tested for the virus.
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#aircanada #Pearsonairport Lineupp for gate 5 starts at gate 11… How is this going to work and how was there not more preparation for this?… No ability to upload vaccine online!?! (system asks but it doesn't work) pic.twitter.com/UNyXSB9rQB
— Patrick Heffron (@patrickheffron) December 2, 2021