Canada is lifting some major travel restrictions for fully-vaccinated residents
The travel announcement people all over Canada have been waiting for has finally come through, confirming that fully-vaccinated citizens will no longer be forced to quarantine at government-approved hotel sites upon returning, by air or land, from anywhere outside the country.
In other words: It just got a lot cheaper, easier and less-controversial for Canadians to travel internationally (but only if they've had two shots of an approved COVID-19 vaccine and can prove it).
"Today, the Government of Canada is announcing the details of the first phase of its approach to easing border measures for travellers entering Canada," reads a release issued by the feds Monday morning.
"Beginning July 5, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. EDT, fully vaccinated travellers who are permitted to enter Canada will not be subject to the federal requirement to quarantine or take a COVID-19 test on day8. In addition, fully vaccinated travellers arriving by air will not be required to stay at a government-authorized hotel."
Woohoo!... but there are a few catches.
#TravelUpdate:— MPIqra Khalid Office (@IqraKhalidMP) June 21, 2021
Starting July 5th at 11:59pm, fully #vaccinated Canadian citizens, PR, and others currently allowed to travel into Canada will no longer be required to quarantine or stay at a PHAC-authorized hotel. More details are available here: https://t.co/PLLAZv3fDy pic.twitter.com/oQdcetmYZF
First off, these restrictions will only lift for travellers who are currently permitted to enter Canada (Canadian citizens, permanent residents, persons registered under the Indian Act and some foreign nationals, as outlined under existing travel restrictions).
Secondly, one can't simply get their second shot of a vaccine and then hop on a plane for a weekend in Vegas: To be considered fully vaccinated, a traveller "must have received the full series of a vaccine — or combination of vaccines — accepted by the Government of Canada at least 14 days prior to entering Canada."
The vaccine can be administered in any country, but only those manufactured by Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD, and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) will be accepted for entry into to Canada without quarantine after July 5.
Futhermore, fully-vaxxed travellers must be asymptomatic, carry paper or digital proof of their vaccination status, present a suitable quarantine plan and follow all other public health measures in place to avoid a mandatory hotel stay in Canada upon their arrival.
"Fully vaccinated travellers must still meet all other mandatory requirements, including pre- and on-arrival testing," notes the government.
"Continued testing will allow public health experts to keep monitoring positivity rates at the border, monitor for variants of concern, and make further adjustments to border measures as needed."
As of July 5th, 2021 at 11:59pm EDT, fully vaccinated travellers who are permitted to enter Canada will not be subject to the federal requirement to quarantine or required to stay at a government-authorized hotel. Learn more about our new border measures: https://t.co/IdgTf3LTSZ pic.twitter.com/VYLj7CUXRv— Omar Alghabra (@OmarAlghabra) June 21, 2021
Travellers who do not meet Canada's requirements for "fully vaccinated" must continue to adhere to all current border measures and book a three-night stay at one of Canada's authorized quarantine hotels before they even depart from a foreign destination if arriving by air.
The government's COVID travel wizard can tell you which restrictions you'll need to follow upon arriving in Canada based on your individual circumstances, as well as how fully-vaccinated people can electronically submit their documentation to be considered for the new exemptions.
"The cautious adjustments announced today are only possible because of the tremendous efforts of Canadians, and additional ones will only happen if we continue to protect each other," said Health Minister Patty Hajdu when announcing the loosened restrictions on Monday.
"Thank you to all those who have stepped up to get their first and second dose. If you haven't, get vaccinated when it's your turn, follow up for your second dose, and continue to follow public health measures."
It should be noted that the Government of Canada "continues to strongly advise Canadians to avoid non-essential travel worldwide," as "travel continues to present a risk of importing cases of COVID-19 and its variants" despite the proliferation of vaccines.
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