Fully vaccinated tourists will soon be able to visit Canada again

The federal government announced today it plans to let fully vaccinated tourists visit Canada again soon.

Ottawa now says that — starting Aug. 9 at 12:01 a.m. ET. — fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents living in that country will be able to visit Canada without having to quarantine for two weeks.

The government said it plans to allow fully vaccinated travellers from all other countries to enter Canada on Sept. 7.

A government official speaking on background to journalists today said that, as of Aug. 9,  children under 12 — who aren’t yet approved to receive a vaccine — will be exempt from the quarantine requirement after entering Canada and can move around with their parents if they follow public health measures.

The official said those children should avoid group settings such as school, camps and daycares — especially indoor ones.

How that restriction applies to tourist destinations remains unclear.

“The key here is for parents or any travellers coming to Canada to understand what are the requirements and plan accordingly,” said the official.

“It is possible that they are attending tourist locations or activities — as long as things are outdoors, I think the risks are limited.”

Proof of vaccination

Foreign visitors would also have to follow provincial and territorial public health measures.

Adults entering will need to present proof (in either English or French) that they’ve received a complete round of one of the vaccines approved for use in Canada. That means two doses of either the Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca products, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, at least 14 days before arriving.

All travellers must use the government’s ArriveCAN portal to submit their information. If they meet the government’s criteria, they will not have to quarantine upon arrival in Canada.

Travellers will still need to get a COVID-19 molecular test result before they arrive in Canada.

However, the government announced today that it plans to launch a new surveillance program at airports and land border crossings starting Aug. 9. Fully vaccinated travellers will not need a post-arrival test unless they have been randomly selected to complete a COVID-19 molecular test.

Travellers arrive at the departures level of the Ottawa MacDonald-Cartier International Airport on Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (David Kawai/The Canadian Press)

The White House has not yet announced a reciprocal deal for Canadians.

“We are continuing to review our travel restrictions. Any decisions about re-opening travel will be guided by our public health and medical experts,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said today.

“We take this incredibly seriously, but we look and are guided by our own medical experts. I wouldn’t look at it through a reciprocal intention.”

Besides the rule change allowing fully vaccinated Americans to cross into Canada, a number of other changes will roll out on Aug. 9.

The government also announced that it’s scrapping the three-night government-authorized hotel stay requirement for all travellers on that date.

Quarantine plan still required

The Canadian government shut its border to foreign travellers and implemented strict measures for non-essential workers in March 2020. With COVID-19 case numbers dropping and vaccination rates rising, Ottawa has started already to ease some restrictions.

Fully vaccinated Canadian citizens and permanent residents have been able to skip the 14-day quarantine requirement since earlier this month.

Even if they think they will be exempt, all fully vaccinated travellers will still need to have a quarantine plan in case a border official finds they do not meet the necessary requirements.

Unvaccinated or under-vaccinated travellers will still have to quarantine for 14 days.

As part of its initial COVID-19 prevention measures, the government restricted incoming international flights to just four airports.

Starting Aug. 9, international flights carrying passengers will once again be allowed to land at the following airports: Halifax Stanfield International Airport; Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport; Ottawa Macdonald–Cartier International Airport; Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport; and Edmonton International Airport. 

A Transport Canada official said the department is working with other airports to resume international flights.

Transport Canada also announced it has extended the notice to airmen that restricts all direct commercial and private passenger flights to Canada from India until August 21.

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