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YVR launching new TAKEcare program

By Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Published 10:58 PDT, Thu June 18, 2020

Vancouver International Airport announced its new health and safety campaign, TAKEcare, this morning.

This new normal is going to be a different approach, and we saw that after 9/11 there were lasting impacts on some of the security screening processes,” said vice-president of operations and maintenance Robyn McVicker.

She added that YVR is working with several partners on a collaborative approach that has been developed and implemented slowly over the last few months. 

The new program focuses on increasing touchless surfaces and enhanced cleaning and safety measures. All employees and passengers are required to wear a face mask inside the terminal, and plexiglass has been added at all main interface counters.

Temperature screening has already been implemented by several airlines. Transport Canada will require the screening for all arriving passengers starting at the end of June, and for all departing passengers starting at the end of July.

Physical distancing is also in place, but McVicker acknowledged it will be more difficult as larger flights start to depart. The multi-layered approach in place will help to keep passengers safe when the terminal becomes busier.

“Our goal is to create a frictionless travel experience from curb to cloud,” said McVicker of the new protocols.

While a normal day in June would have seen 75,000 passengers, yesterday there were just 5,000. Overall there has been a 90 per cent reduction in passengers throughout the terminal.

Most travel is happening within Canada, but McVicker said there are still a number of flights going to China. Many of those travellers are family members of people who live in Canada, or students who were being educated in Canada. Overall, international flights have a low number of passengers.

Construction on the international terminal expansion has resumed, and is estimated to be completed early next year. A new budget ensures money is spent as efficiently as possible, and YVR has no plans to increase the airport improvement fee at this point.

As YVR staff look ahead to the future, they’re optimistic. They anticipate domestic travel will begin to grow first.

“We are very pleased to see early signs of growth,” said McVicker. “We are seeing incremental growth each week, and that’s really encouraging.”

“While we don’t know what the future will bring, we do know people will travel again.”

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