vaccinated travelers entering Canada are going to be ready to skip the 14-day quarantine requirement, including the mandated hotel stay for air travelers.
After quite a year of travel restrictions that have impacted most Canadians, the federal has finally begun to ease the principles.
Ottawa has begun Phase 1 of a multiphase approach to lift its travel restrictions. However, the govt warns that the method is going to be gradual — supported scientific data and not people’s pleas to reopen the borders.
Here’s what changes are happening soon and what to expect as more Canadians get vaccinated.
Phase 1: Vaccinated travelers can skip quarantine
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Canada has kept its borders closed to most non-essential traffic and required a 14-day quarantine for travelers allowed to enter.
The government upped the ante in late February, mandating that travelers take a COVID-19 test upon arrival which air passengers spend a part of their quarantine at a delegated hotel until they receive test results.
However, Ottawa announced on Wednesday that each one fully vaccinated traveler currently allowed to enter Canada will soon be ready to skip the 14-day quarantine requirement, including the mandated hotel stay. Instead, they’ll need to show proof of a negative pre-departure COVID-19 test, take another test upon arrival, and self-isolate until that test comes back negative.
The government has not yet set a date for the rule change but says it “hopes” to implement it by early July.
“These changes will only be made if the [COVID-19] case count continues to drop and if the vaccination campaign continues to travel well,” said Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc in French at a press conference on Wednesday.
The pending rule change is welcome news for several vaccinated travelers — but not for those set to fly to Canada before it takes effect.
“I desire it is a bit of a punishment and a slap within the face,” said Fay Wallenberg, who grew up in Regina and now lives in Tuscany, Italy.
Wallenberg, who’s flying home on June 25 to go to her parents, has received both doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
She can’t change her travel plans, she said, and can now arrive with the knowledge that vaccinated travelers will get to skip the quarantine hotel, potentially only every week later.