New COVID-19 precautions at Victoria International Airport

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Victoria International Airport has created a new program to help travellers stay safe from COVID-19, only passangers are allowed inside and masks are required.

Victoria International Airport has created a new program to help travellers stay safe from COVID-19.

TravelSafe YYJ requires hello’s and goodbye’s to take place outside the terminal. Only those flying are allowed inside, unless they are a child or require additional assistance.

There are one-way entrances and exits that are divided by Plexiglas, and around 60 hand sanitizer stations are have been installed with more on order.

“We came up with a campaign and a program based on three principles,” said YYJ Operations Vice President Ken Gallant.

“One is reducing and eliminating the spread of COVID. It’s about instilling passenger confidence again and the third is a consistent passenger experience.”

They say their steps are in line with other major airports like Vancouver and Toronto International.

Their cleaning in the terminal, and outside in areas like baggage carts, has been ramped up. There are physical distancing markers and the security lanes are also separated by Plexiglas.

Thirteen-thousand passengers came through last month, that compared to the 172,000 in June 2020.  Numbers are still low but they are getting better.

“In June for example we had upwards of eight to nine departing flights, so 16 to 18 moments a day,” said Gallant.

“Going into July with the extra routes and extra flights that are being added, we are in the ballpark on our peak day we are at 15 arrivals and 15 departures a day, so 30 movements… that’s exciting.”

They join the rest of the travel industry who are making the pivot to safer travel, and it’s making a difference.

“People are very optimistic, they are cautious, they are combing at the bit to get going and traveling again,” said Cathy Larsen,  co-owner of Departures Travel in Sidney.

She says cruise ships and hotels are also taking extra steps to assure safety. Even international travel is starting to get back on the horizon, with places like the EU allowing Canadians to visit.

“There is going to be some travel at the end of 2021 as far as international travel goes,” said Larsen.

“It is encouraging news and people are really excited, and are starting to book those trips for ’21.”

For now, local travel agents and Victoria International Airport say the province is a great choice for this summer.

Julian KolsutJulian Kolsut

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