The Canadian government is suspending all flights to sun destinations
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced several new travel restrictions for Canada Friday in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19 and its new, more contagious variants, including the suspension of flight service to typical "sun destinations."
Speaking to reporters outside Rideau Cottage Friday morning, Trudeau said the government and Canada's main airlines — Air Canada, Westjet, Sunwing, Air Transat — have agreed to implement this new public health measure right away.
"We all need to do our part to keep ourselves, our loved ones, and our neighbours safe. That's every person, every business, working together," he said. "And now, Canada's air carriers are stepping up to protect Canadians too."
Starting Sunday, flight service to all Caribbean destinations and Mexico will be suspended until at least April 30, and Trudeau said airlines will be arranging return flights for people who are currently on vacation in these places.
"I'd like to acknowledge the leadership of Air Canada, Westjet, Sunwing and Air transat in making this commitment to suspend flights and be such strong partners in the fight to curb the spread of COVID-19 and its variants," he said.
The prime minister also announced that starting next week, all international passenger flights must land only at one of four major Canadian airports: Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal.
The news comes as the government has faced increased pressure to tighten travel restrictions due to international travellers bringing highly-infectious new COVID-19 variants into multiple provinces.
Trudeau also announced new quarantine and testing rules Friday, including mandatory PCR testing at the airport for people returning to Canada and a three-day hotel quarantine while travellers wait for test results that will have to be paid out of pocket.
In the coming weeks, Trudeau said non-essential travellers will be required to show a negative test result at land borders with the U.S. as well.
"With the challenges we currently face with COVID-19 both here at home and abroad, we all agree that now is just not the time to be flying," Trudeau told reporters.
"By putting in place these tough measures now, we can look forward to a better time when we can all plan those vacations. Our government is committed to the safe restart and recovery of the Canadian travel and tourism sector as soon as soon as conditions improve, ideally later this year."
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