Canada to open its borders, first to vaccinated Americans, from August 9

Fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents will be allowed to cross the border into Canada from Aug. 9 for non-essential travel without any quarantine requirements, the Ottawa government said Monday.

Canada will then reopen its borders to all vaccinated foreign travelers from September 7.

The US-Canadian land border, the world’s longest, and the air border have been closed to non-essential travel since mid-March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Pressure on the government has mounted from the ailing tourism sector to ease travel restrictions, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his administration did not want to jeopardize progress at home in containing the spread of Covid-19.

Earlier this month, Canada waived quarantine requirements for its own citizens and permanent residents returning from abroad who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

“A number of significant changes to the border will come into effect on Aug. 9 so that fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents currently residing in the United States can enter Canada for non-essential purposes,” said Canadian Health Minister Patty. said Hadju.

Vaccinated Americans and permanent residents of the US — and ultimately other foreign travelers — must have received their full dose of a vaccine approved by Canadian authorities at least 14 days prior to arrival, and they will be subject to “testing as required.” her ministry said.

Those travelers must also be asymptomatic upon arrival.

The Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC), which has been lobbying for months to reopen the border, called the announcement “very welcome news.”

“The tourism economy is ready to welcome visitors back,” the group’s president and CEO, Beth Potter, said in a statement.

Canadian Chamber of Commerce head Perrin Beatty called the announcement a “positive move” but warned that “the expensive and cumbersome procedures remaining for fully vaccinated travelers will discourage short visits, including many business trips.”

For some provinces, such as Quebec, American tourists make up a significant percentage of the total number of visitors. United Airlines said Monday it would add more flights from the US to Toronto and Vancouver from September.

As of February, only Calgary, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver airports receive international flights. As of Aug. 9, airports in Edmonton, Halifax, Ottawa, Quebec City and Winnipeg are authorized to receive such flights.

Speaking at the White House, press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday that the U.S. government will “continue” its travel restrictions for now and would follow the guidelines of its own medical experts.

Until now, the border closure had been extended monthly by mutual agreement between Ottawa and Washington.

According to Canadian government data released Monday, 75 percent of Canada’s residents have had at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine. Half are fully vaccinated.

(AFP)

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