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Andrew Scheer, Brian Pallister spotted without masks on at Pearson International Airport

A photo posted to Twitter Tuesday appears to show federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer and Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister not wearing masks at Toronto's airport.
A photo posted to Twitter Tuesday appears to show federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer and Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister not wearing masks at Toronto's airport. Submitted/Twitter/@loxyisme

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer and Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister are facing criticism after photos that appear to show the pair waiting for a flight at Toronto’s airport without wearing mandatory masks were posted online.

Two photos that popped up on Twitter Tuesday afternoon appear to show the pair and several other men lounging at an airport gate at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport — none with masks covering their faces.

Read more: Coronavirus: Face masks or coverings now mandatory in Toronto’s indoor public settings

The airport has had a mandatory mask policy to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in effect since June 1.

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In an emailed statement to Global News, Scheer’s acting director of communications said the federal Conservative Leader had been wearing a mask while travelling to Ottawa Tuesday, but had removed it to make a phone call.

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“This picture must have been taken before he put it back on,” said Kelsie Chiasson in the email.

Scheer doesn’t appear to be talking on a phone in either picture posted to social media Tuesday.

Read more: Toronto council votes to make wearing face masks mandatory in closed public settings

Pearson International Airport confirmed in a tweet Tuesday that it’s mandatory for all employees and travelers to wear a mask inside the airport at all times.

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Pallister was scheduled to be in Ottawa this week for meetings.

Before he left Pallister told Global News in Winnipeg he would be taking all precautions to protect himself from COVID-19.

Read more: Ontario says provincial policy on mandatory masks ‘isn’t necessary’

When reached for comment Pallister acknowledged he’d made an “error” by taking off his mask.

“I lifted my mask to join some friends in conversation at the Toronto airport this afternoon,” Pallister said in an email.

“It was an error on my part, it won’t happen again.”

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–With files from Brittany Greenslade and Hannah Jackson

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.