Canberra Airport CEO Stephen Byron Calls for Mask Mandates To End at the Airport Terminal!

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Canberra Airport CEO Stephen Byron Calls for Mask Mandates To End at the Airport Terminal!

By Kylie Stevens

Time is ticking away for the ACT to abolish ‘appalling’ Covid-19 mask mandates before the territory’s furious airport boss launches legal action.

Canberra Airport has given the territory’s chief health officer Kerryn Coleman a deadline of 5pm Monday to revoke the mandate or explain why the strict rules must stay.

Mask wearing has already been scrapped in pubs, nightclubs, strip clubs and brothels.

Airport chief executive Stephen Byron said the mandate was unjustified and discriminatory when compared to other businesses in the ACT.

The mask mandate is enforced Australia-wide on all aircraft and in all airports.

On Monday morning, Mr Byron said he was still waiting for answers from the ACT government after the airport’s lawyers issued a letter last week threatening legal action.

‘There is no evidence the airport terminal is any more infectious than going to any nightclub or shopping centre in Canberra,’ Mr Byron told Daily Mail Australia.

‘The mandate is appalling, unnecessary, completely discriminatory and not based on any scientific evidence.’

Mr Byron stressed he was not asking for masks to be scrapped on aircraft, just within airport buildings.

He has also reached out to Australia’s chief medical officer Professor Paul Kelly to get his support.

Anyone caught not wearing a mask when required in the ACT faces an on the spot fine of $1000 or up to $8000 for more serious incidents.

The ACT began enforcing mask-wearing at Canberra Airport in January 2021, before Covid vaccinations were available for Australians.

‘Canberra’s vaccination rate over the age five is now 97.2 per cent,’ Mr Byron said.

‘Our industry was hardest hit by the pandemic when the borders closed.

‘We should have been one of the first when restrictions eased.’

The airport has argued the mask mandate in the terminal is a breach of human rights.

Solicitor Andrew Corkhill, of Quinn Emanuel lawyers, is acting for Canberra Airport.

‘The mandate creates a tangible stigma around attending Canberra Airport, sending the false message to would-be travellers that visiting the airport carries a greater risk than visiting other ACT premises
that are not subject to mask mandates including pubs, nightclubs, strip clubs and brothels,’ Mr Corkhill wrote in the letter to the health department.

‘If you refuse to revoke the face mask mandate or otherwise provide a sufficient explanation for it, adversely affected airport workers and travellers may be compelled to commence legal proceedings
against you in the ACT Supreme Court under the Human Rights Act.’

Mr Byron said an ACT government solicitor had promised a response would be provided ‘shortly’ but said the 5pm Monday deadline remains.

The government says the mask mandate in place for Canberra Airport and on domestic flights into and out of the ACT, is in line with a nationally consistent approach agreed to by the Australian Health
Protection Principal Committee and the Australian aviation industry.

‘While it is up to each jurisdictional government to implement the legislation to enforce these rules, they are currently consistent for passengers on all flights and in all airports across the country,’ a
spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia.

‘ACT Health will continue to assess the need for mandates in different settings in line with the most up-to-date information and advice.

The government confirmed Dr Coleman received correspondence from Capital Airport Group.

‘This has been handled by the ACT Government Solicitors Office. As this is a legal matter, we have no further comment at this time,’ the spokesperson added.

‘If you refuse to revoke the face mask mandate or otherwise provide a sufficient explanation for it, adversely affected airport workers and travellers may be compelled to commence legal proceedings
against you in the ACT Supreme Court under the Human Rights Act.’

Opinion pieces don’t necessarily reflect the position of our news site but of our Opinion writers.

*Note We Deliberately Miss Spell Some Words or Add Capital Letters To Get Around Big Tech Censoring.

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