Shomporko Online News Desk: Beginning Aug. 9, American citizens and permanent residents who are completely vaccinated against COVID-19 and wish to visit Canada for non-essential reasons will be permitted to do so.
As of Sept. 7, fully vaccinated visitors from other countries will be permitted to enter.
Federal officials announced the policy change following weeks of pressure by American lawmakers and industry lobby groups, as well as from communities along the Canada-U.S. border who have been hurting economically since fears of the virus prompted policymakers to shut the border in March 2020.
As of Aug. 9, American travellers who are fully vaccinated will be able to come to Canada for discretionary travel without needing to quarantine upon arrival, and the government-approved hotel quarantine program will also be axed on that date.
Fully vaccinated travellers from other places in the world will be allowed to enter as of Sept. 7.
Both will still have to submit proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test before arrival. But post-arrival, those fully vaccinated travellers will not need to do a post-arrival test as a matter of routine.
The exemption will be those who are randomly selected for a post-arrival test.
American travellers and those other countries will have to submit their proof of vaccination through the ArriveCan app — the same rule in place for returning Canadian travellers since last month.
“If they’re fully vaccinated, today’s announcement will make travel more efficient for all travellers,” said Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino, noting the border restrictions have been challenging for many.
Rising vaccination rates across Canada were cited by the Public Health Agency of Canada as the rationale for the decision to change border restrictions, and they will be contingent on case counts remaining low, said officials.
“We are not changing our measures at this time for individuals who are not fully vaccinated,” said Health Minister Patty Hajdu. “We’ll be of course monitoring data at the border.”
She said that of the 63,000 fully vaccinated Canadian travellers who have re-entered the country without quarantine since restrictions eased last month, only about 10 have tested positive for COVID-19.
Fifty per cent of Canadians are now fully vaccinated, while the percentage of those with at least one dose is roughly 75 per cent, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.
The unvaccinated children of fully vaccinated adult travellers will also be exempt from doing a 14-day quarantine upon arrival. Federal officials said on Monday that these children should avoid congregate settings but that there will not be formal rules or guidance issued on what that includes.
Earlier in July, Chief Public Health Officer Dr Theresa Tam warned that children under the age of 12 — who are not yet eligible to get vaccinated — remain at risk of another outbreak of COVID-19.
The government also announced that international arrivals will be allowed at five more Canadian airports.
Until now, international arrivals have been restricted to the major airports in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Calgary. Going forward, those arrivals can land at the airports in Halifax, Quebec City, Ottawa, Winnipeg and Edmonton as well.
The continued exemption from relaxing rules in India.
Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said the government is keeping in place a ban on arrivals of flights from that country as the rate of infection from the highly contagious Delta variant continues to rise.
It remains unclear, however, whether the United States will reciprocate by allowing fully vaccinated Canadian travellers to enter more easily.
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said he has informed his U.S. counterpart that this decision was coming, but that American authorities haven’t yet decided whether to lift their restrictions.
“They haven’t made a decision yet, but they expect their existing measure to be extended on July 21,” Blair added. “They are clearly examining additional measures and data, but they have not signalled a desire to remove their current slew of restrictions.”
Source_ The Star