Toronto's Pearson Airport goes back on policy to divide travelers by vaccination status
Toronto Pearson International Airport has quickly gone back on a controversial move it made just days ago regarding unvaccinated travelers.
As air travel continues to ramp up, the airport planned to "help streamline the border clearance process," it told multiple local news outlets in a statement last week, by separating fully vaccinated and partially or unvaccinated passengers into different lines, as they face different entry criteria and processes.
Hi @Begin4N. To help streamline the border clearance process after The Government of Canada communicated easing on restrictions for vaccinated travelers. Un-vaccinated travelers still have to follow the regulations and their process is much slower at the customs area.— Toronto Pearson (@TorontoPearson) July 24, 2021
Those who can provide proof of full inoculation with a federal government-approved COVID-19 shot are as of earlier this month able to bypass the mandatory hotel quarantine, as well as 14-day quarantine requirements if they are also asymptomatic and can provide a negative test result.
Those who have only had one jab or are not vaxxed at all, meanwhile, are still subject to more stringent measures including those named above, which leads to a much lengthier clearance at customs.
The step to divide the two groups was a logical one, but was met with more backlash than the airport was expecting, it seems, as it has now reversed the decision.
"Toronto Pearson, in collaboration with the government and other partners, has determined that separation of vaccinated and partially/non-vaccinated travellers in customs lines results in minimal operational efficiencies," airport management said in a statement issued Sunday night, per CTV News.
"As such, the practice will be ceased as of July 26, 2021, with entry requirements based on vaccination status being enforced once a passenger reaches Canada Border Services."
Why are people complaining about this? It is a workflow setup - just like having Canadian passport holders in one line and others in another or Nexus in one line and non-Nexus in another. It improves efficiency for everyone.— Jack (@Jack00077775) July 24, 2021
Given that Canada is opening its borders to fully immunized U.S. citizens and permanent residents on Aug. 9, as well as fully vaxxed travelers from other international destinations on Sept. 7, people can expect that Pearson and other airports will be a bit of a mess as staff and passengers get used to new procedures. (Then again, it kind of already is.)
Whether this vaxxed/unvaxxed lineup idea would have made things easier and better organized, we'll never know.
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