Canada is relaxing travel restrictions.This is what you need to know
After more than a year of travel restrictions that affected most Canadians, the federal government finally began to relax the regulations.
Ottawa has begun to implement the first phase of a multi-stage approach to lift its travel restrictions. However, the government warned that the process will be gradual-based on scientific data, not on people’s requests to reopen the border.
Below are the upcoming changes and changes that will occur as more and more Canadians are vaccinated.
The first stage: vaccinated passengers can skip isolation
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Canada has been closing its borders to most non-essential traffic and requiring passengers who enter the country to be quarantined for 14 days.
The government raised the stakes in late February, requiring passengers to be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival, and air passengers were partially quarantined at designated hotels until they received the test results.
However, Ottawa Announced on Wednesday All fully vaccinated travelers currently allowed to enter Canada will soon be able to skip the 14-day quarantine requirement, including mandatory hotel stays. Instead, they must show proof that they tested negative for COVID-19, take another test upon arrival, and self-isolate until the test is negative.
The government has not yet set a date for the rule change, but said it “hopes” to implement it in early July.
“These changes will only be made if [COVID-19] The number of cases continues to decline, if the vaccination campaign continues to go smoothly,” Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominique LeBlanc said in French at a news conference on Wednesday.
For many vaccinated travelers, the pending rule changes are good news-but not for those planning to fly to Canada before it goes into effect.
“I think it’s a bit like punishment and a slap in the face,” said Faye Wallenberg, who grew up in Regina and now lives in Tuscany, Italy.
Wallenberg will fly home to visit her parents on June 25. She has already received two doses of AstraZeneca.
She said that she could not change her travel plan, and now that travelers who know the vaccines will be able to skip the isolation hotel when they arrive, it may only be a week later.
“I think it’s very unfair,” Wallenberg said. “I have been fully vaccinated.”
On Wednesday, Health Minister Patty Hajdu (Patty Hajdu) said that various government departments are still finalizing plans to change the rules to ensure they are “prepared” in July.
Is my vaccine okay? Where is my child?
Currently, only travelers who have received vaccines approved by Health Canada (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson) can bypass the 14-day quarantine. The government said it will evaluate and consider approving other COVID-19 vaccines at a later date.
Ottawa said it is still making vaccine passports for travelers. If it is not ready when the rules change, Canadian border officials will determine the identity of travelers based on their documents.
Hajdu cannot yet say whether unvaccinated children can skip hotel requirements when traveling with fully vaccinated parents.So far, Health Canada has only approved COVID-19 vaccines for the following populations 12 years old and above.
“We will not separate families that travel together,” Hajidu said on Wednesday. Power and politicsBut she did not provide further details, saying they have not worked out yet.
What’s the next step?
The government stated that it has not set a timetable for when further travel restrictions will be relaxed.
Hajdu said: “The indicators we are studying are not date-oriented, but more disease-activity-oriented.” She said that the number of cases, hospitalization rates and vaccination rates will all play a role in determining Ottawa’s next actions. effect.
Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tan, said that the government’s next “goal” for vaccination to ease border restrictions is to have 75% of all eligible Canadians fully vaccinated. right now, Only seven percent Of Canadians 18 years and older received two doses of the vaccine.
What about the Canada-U.S. border?
Canada’s approach to phasing out travel restrictions Frustrated some American politicians Who wants to see the plan to reopen the Canadian-U.S. land border is now put into effect.
Recently, some netizens speculated The U.S. plans to act alone and reopen On June 22, when the current agreement expires, non-essential traffic will be allowed on the side of the border.
Watch | See how Canada plans to relax its travel restrictions
U.S. immigration lawyer Len Saunders said he has spoken to nearly a dozen U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials who said they were told that the U.S. land border will reopen that day.
“If you call me two weeks today, I would be shocked if the border does not reopen to the United States,” said Sanders, whose office is located near the Canadian border in Blaine, Washington.
However, the US government denied these rumors.
In addition, Hajdu said that she met with the United States Last week, Health Minister Alex Azar agreed that it would be beneficial for the two countries to develop a joint health agreement to relax travel restrictions.
Either way, eager cross-border travelers may soon get more information. According to New York Congressman Brian Higgins, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and US President Joe Biden will discuss this issue at the current G7 summit in the UK.
“In the final analysis, only these two decision makers are important,” Higgins said on Thursday. group discussion Sponsored by the Canadian Tourism Association. “They can make game-changing decisions.”