The federal government has announced plans to further ease COVID-19 restrictions at Canada’s borders starting next month.
As virus cases dwindle and vaccinations increase, officials revealed the next steps in Canada’s phased reopening approach during a press conference on July 19.
“Canadians’ safety and security always come first. With rising vaccination rates and fewer cases in Canada, we can begin to safely ease border measures,” said Health Minister Patty Hajdu.
“A gradual approach to reopening will allow our health authorities to monitor the COVID-19 situation here and abroad. Canadians have worked hard and sacrificed for each other, and because of that work, we can take these next steps safely.”
When will the changes take place?
The majority of changes come into effect at 12:01 am on August 9.
Hotel quarantine and on-arrival test ending
At that time, Canada will do away with the mandatory hotel quarantine measure.
Since February, travellers arriving in Canada by air have been subject to a three-night stay at an authorized hotel while they await the results of a COVID-19 test taken on arrival.
Starting next month, the requirement for an on-arrival test will also expire. Travellers will only be subject to the test if they are randomly selected.
A pre-departure test taken within 72 hours of arrival in Canada will still be required.
Pre-flight temperature screening of passengers and airport workers will no longer be mandated come August, either.
Officials noted this shift is in response to the evolution of the pandemic, while still monitoring the prevalence of the virus and its variants in travellers.
US travel will resume for those vaccinated
As of August 9, fully vaccinated American citizens and US permanent residents that live in the States will be permitted to enter Canada.
They must have been fully immunized with a Health Canada-approved vaccine for at least 14 days. They will also not have to undergo a 14-day quarantine.
However, the US has not yet reopened its land border to Canadians for discretionary travel.
Select airports welcoming international flights
To support the myriad new measures, international flights will be permitted to land at five additional airports starting next month.
Halifax Stanfield International Airport, Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport, Ottawa Macdonald–Cartier International Airport, Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport, and Edmonton International Airport are included in the expansion.
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Provided the epidemiologic situation in Canada “remains favourable,” the country’s borders will open further in September.
As of September 7, all fully vaccinated international travellers will be permitted to enter Canada, as long as they have been fully immunized for at least 14 days.
Canada’s international borders have been closed to tourists and visitors since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March of 2020.
The health and safety of Canadians remains our top priority,” said Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc.
“Our government will continue to work with Canadian and international partners to ensure the border reopening is done in a safe and responsible way.”