Vancouver International Airport is working to expand its testing capacity in line with the federal government’s latest travel rules.
Last week, the federal government announced that all fully vaccinated international arrivals – except for travellers coming from the U.S. – will need to undergo COVID-19 arrival testing, due to the omicron variant. Travellers will be required to quarantine while they await the results of their arrival test.
In a statement issued Monday, YVR said it is working with its partners to conduct testing for all fully vaccinated passengers arriving from out of the country at the airport.
“When we were advised by government last week about increases to international arrivals testing, we took immediate action to determine how we would expand our testing capacity,” said Robyn McVicker, vice president of passenger journey at YVR.
“This includes building our registration and testing areas at the airport and adding more staff to guide passengers through the process.”
As of last Friday, the airport had increased testing by 87 per cent, and, over the next two weeks will be increasing registration and testing capacity to get to 100 per cent arrivals testing for international passengers.
On average, YVR sees about 5,000 arriving international passengers each day, according to the airport. It’s expected this number will “increase slightly” heading into the holiday travel season.
According to YVR, some people may get take home test kits when peaks are more than the airport’s testing capacity, however, the goal is to test as many people on-site as possible.
The testing requirement is in addition to several travel rules already in place.
YVR has compiled a list of what passengers need to know before heading on their trip:
First, to depart YVR and any Canadian airport, travellers must be fully vaccinated:
Vaccination documentation will be verified by your airline at check-in. For Canadians, the best documentation is the Canadian COVID-19 proof of vaccination. There are limited exemptions for religious or medical reasons. More information on exemptions is available from your airline or Transport Canada.
Second, each destination has its own set of entry requirements:
YVR is encouraging everyone to understand and be prepared for the entry requirements of their destination before travelling. For example, as of Dec. 6, travellers heading to the U.S. must show a negative COVID-19 test taken within 24 hours of boarding their flight, or documentation showing they have recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days.
Third, when you return to Canada, you must complete ArriveCAN:
This includes entering negative COVID-19 test information and a quarantine plan – and pre-registering for an arrival test. International arrivals will need to quarantine until test results are received, typically within 24 to 72 hours.
Passengers connecting through the airport will also be subject to testing at YVR before continuing on to their next destination. After taking the test, passengers can carry on to their final destination to quarantine while they await test results.
Meanwhile, fully vaccinated Canadians who re-enter the country within 72 hours of leaving are exempt from providing a pre-entry test result.