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Pearson Airport Wants You To Know These 6 Things Before The New Travel Rules Kick In

Starting on September 7, Canada will open its border to fully vaccinated residents from all over the world for discretionary purposes.

However, there are some things that Toronto Pearson Airport wants you to know before these new changes kick in.

Wait times could be up to 3 hours

In a statement to Narcity, the airport revealed that it could take up to three hours for international travellers to complete the arrival process, so be prepared to wait.

"The international arrivals process—including clearing Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) screening, collecting bags and possible COVID-19 testing if a passenger is required to test by government regulation—may take up to 3 hours depending on a passenger's specific set of circumstances," reads the statement.

The long wait times are created by "necessary conditions" such as reducing crowds and enhanced screening protocols.

However, the airport does state that they are working to process passengers as "efficiently as possible."

Passengers could be forced to wait on planes after arrival

Pearson airport reveals that due to capacity limits of how many people can be in a room at one time, some passengers may have to stay on their plane after landing.

"If too many planes arrive at the same time or arrive unexpectedly (sometimes flights arrive early, are delayed or are diverted from other airports), this may require the pilot to hold at the gate with passengers on board so that there are not too many people in the customs hall at the same time," reads the statement.

"In some cases, passengers may be asked to wait in a departure gate area or the arrivals corridor inside the airport to await their turn in the customs hall."

During the pandemic, the number of travellers allowed in custom halls is "significantly lower."

Physical distancing isn't always possible

Since July 5, the Canadian Government has agreed that physical distancing of two meters isn't always possible in some areas of the airport.

Instead, Pearson Airport will undergo the "layered" approach which includes "mask wearing, hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette and ventilation systems."

Expect delays during "rush hours"

International travellers should expect to face delays during peak times, such as midday into the late evening.

During these times, more flights are arriving, which puts more demand on the Greater Toronto Airports Authority and Canada Border Services Agency.

However, Pearson is working hard to limit the number of delays that international travellers face.

"We have reactivated the International-to-Domestic (ITD) connection process, in cooperation with the CBSA and our airline partners. The ITD connection process is for eligible arriving international passengers that are connecting onwards in Canada, enabling them to complete the customs process faster and go directly to their next flight," the document says.

"We have also worked with our airlines to revise their gate allocations to redistribute arriving passengers among our two terminals, reducing crowding at peak times," the airline states.

A buildup of luggage is possible

Pearson Airport has revealed that since customs processing times are longer, this can result in a buildup of unclaimed luggage.

This means that your luggage can be taken off the carousels and moved elsewhere so that other luggage can be unloaded.

"When customs hall processing times are higher, there can be a buildup of luggage in the baggage hall. When this happens, the bags are removed from the carousels and organized proactively so that when passenger[s] complete the customs process, they are able to collect their bags while other flights are unloaded onto the carousel," read the statement.

International travellers need to be fully vaccinated 14 days prior

If you're an international traveller looking to come into Canada starting September 7, you need to be fully vaccinated for at least 14 days.

"As of September 7, the Government of Canada intends to open Canada's borders to any fully vaccinated travellers who have completed the full course of vaccination with a Government of Canada-accepted vaccine at least 14 days prior to entering Canada and who meet specific entry requirements," reads the press release.

According to the Government of Canada, accepted vaccines include Moderna, Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.

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