Regina airport places tougher restrictions on residents trying to get home

Due to COVID-19, the Regina Airport Authority is no longer allowing direct flights from abroad, excluding the United States and “typical” sun destinations, to land in the Queen City.

Those travellers are required to first fly into either Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver or Calgary.

“There’s going to be an adjustment of course to schedules. Making sure that information and notices are in place throughout the terminal building,” said James Bogusz, Regina Airport Authority president and CEO.

“When you arrive to Canada Border Services from abroad…the recommendation is now to self-isolate for a full 14 days.”

Bogusz said it’s uncharted territory and not only for the Regina airport, but for aviation in general.

“Even when we look at previous issues that have occurred in the past 20 years… there’s been nothing like this in what we expect to be a protracted, recovery in the future,” Bogusz said.

Bogusz said there are other measures in place at the airport to help prevent the spread of the virus.

“The airport has ramped its custodial procedures. We also increased the quantity of hand sanitizer throughout the building. We actually have 31 units in addition to plenty of soap and water in the washrooms,” Bogusz said.

“We’ve added additional procedures for our own staff partly around social distancing, but also limiting unnecessary work or unnecessary meetings.”

From a financial perspective, Bogusz said the airport is starting to look at ways to cut costs as the airlines are shedding flights and reducing capacity.

Bogusz said he is in daily contact with both provincial and federal officials to ensure the airport is updated with any new recommendations and procedures.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials say the risk is low for Canadians but warn this could change quickly. They caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are asked to self-isolate for 14 days in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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