Fully-vaccinated US tourists will be allowed to enter Canada next week for the first time since before the COVID-19 pandemic.
But the border relaxation comes as US daily COVID-19 cases hit a six-month high this week. The increase is primarily driven by Delta variant infections in areas with low vaccination rates.
According to the American Centre for Disease Control, 103,000 new infections were reported on August 3. The last time daily infections were that high was February 10.
Canada is also seeing a slight increase in its daily cases as many jurisdictions ease COVID-19 restrictions as inoculation grows.
Canada released its plan to welcome back tourists in July. US citizens and permanent residents will be the first allowed across the border beginning on August 9.
Starting September 7, Canada plans to welcome fully-vaccinated tourists from elsewhere in the world.
Visitors will be able to enter Canada via land or air borders as long as they’ve completed a pre-arrival COVID-19 test and submitted their documents via the ArriveCAN app.
Travellers won’t need to take another COVID-19 test when they enter Canada unless they’ve been randomly selected.
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The Canadian government still advises its citizens to avoid all non-essential travel, because other countries may not have the same vaccine coverage or the low COVID-19 case rates that Canada does.
“International travel increases your risk of exposure to COVID-19 and its variants, as well as of spreading it to others,” the government said in a July 19 statement.
Land border still closed to Canadians
Although Canada is allowing US tourists in starting next week, the US is not providing Canadians the same courtesy.
The US land border will remain closed to non-essential travel until further notice.
Dual citizens and others permitted to enter the US for work for an essential reason can still drive across. Canadians can also fly into the US without quarantining, which they’ve been able to do throughout the pandemic.