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Fever check, hand gel, extra space: Air Canada sets virus rules

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Passengers on Air Canada will have their temperature checked before boarding, receive hand sanitizer and enjoy more personal space in economy class under a new safety protocol.

[TORONTO] Passengers on Air Canada will have their temperature checked before boarding, receive hand sanitizer and enjoy more personal space in economy class under a new safety protocol.

The programme unveiled Monday aims to reduce the risk of exposure to Covid-19 and put travellers at ease, the company said. It adds to existing measures such as mandatory mask wearing, a safety questionnaire and cabin disinfection.

The protocol "will provide travelers with the confidence that they can book and fly safely with Air Canada as they consider their travel plans in the current environment," Chief Executive Officer Calin Rovinescu said in a statement, hours after the airline said it expects a slow recovery for the industry.

Here are some key elements of the programme, to be implemented by May 15:

Cabin cleaning: The company is adding electrostatic spraying to procedures that include cleaning with hospital-grade disinfectant.

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Before boarding: The mandatory, system-wide infrared temperature check will be the first among airlines in the Americas, according to the company. Customers who don't get cleared will be rebooked and will need to show a medical certificate on their next attempt.

Space: In economy class, adjacent seats will be blocked so no passenger has an immediate neighbor. The total number of seats sold will be capped for each flight. The measure will stay in effect until least June 30.

Hands: Customers will receive care kits with sanitizers and other products.

Existing measures continue: Sanitary measures already in place include providing face shields, gloves and gowns for all flight crews, dispensing individual water bottles instead of offering bar service, and removing pillows and blankets.

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