hotel quarantine

Here's when travellers to Canada will have to start paying for a hotel quarantine

Those Canadians who have been vacationing unimpeded for the entirety of the pandemic thus far were likely miffed that the federal government is finally introducing stricter measures at the border, including a hotel stay new arrivals will have to pay for out-of-pocket while they await the results of a mandatory COVID-19 test.

When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau broke the news at the end of January, he said the new protocols would be rolled out "as soon as possible in the coming weeks."

But now, a firm date has been confirmed, and it's sooner than some may have expected: Feb. 22, the PM announced on Friday.

Starting that day, all incoming air passengers will be subject to a COVID-19 test upon landing, and will also be required to pay more than $2,000 for a three-night stay at an approved hotel — a stay they will have to book before landing — while their PCR test results process.

If they are negative for the virus, they will be permitted to return home to isolate under newly "increased surveillance and enforcement" until their 14-day federally-ordered quarantine period is up.

But if they test positive, they will have to continue under monitored quarantine at a designated government facility for the remainder of the 14 days, after which they will undergo yet another COVID-19 test.

Exceptions will be made for select essential workers, but not for those who have received a vaccine against the communicable disease.

"We're not trying to punish people, we're trying to keep people safe," Trudeau said during a press conference on Friday.

"And keeping Canadians safe from the virus is discouraging all non-essential travel and ensuring that if people do have to travel, they're doing the things that we can be certain are going to prevent the virus from spreading farther in Canada, particularly given new variants."

These protocols are in addition to the negative COVID-19 test result required to board a flight to Canada in the first place, a rule implemented on Jan. 7 that has now also been extended to those crossing into the country by land.

Ottawa also made the move to suspend any flights to sun destinations and limit arrivals to only four airports in Canada in an attempt to curb non-essential travel, especially to places with far lighter lockdown restrictions.

Lead photo by

Paul Gorbould

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