OTTAWA — Canada will reopen its borders to fully vaccinated U.S. travelers as of August 9, well ahead of its announced easing of border restrictions for fully vaccinated travelers from other parts of the world on September 7. According to a statement from the Public Health Agency of Canada, U.S. citizens and permanent residents who have been fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to entering Canada, meet entry requirements and are asymptomatic will be allowed to enter the country without having to quarantine upon arrival.
Events and Travel Industry Applaud the Move to Reopen Borders
“We are thrilled that Canada is loosening restrictions to allow USA travelers who are fully vaccinated to cross their borders without quarantine requirements,” David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA, President and CEO, International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE), said. “IAEE and our industry colleagues continue to advocate for the additional loosening of restrictions for both inbound and outbound international travel. Our global exhibitions industry and worldwide economies rely on access to free trade, income generation and job enhancements.”
U.S. Travel Association Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy Tori Emerson Barnes said of the planned reopening, “Canada is getting this right and we applaud the release of a timeline that will allow vaccinated Americans to visit and cross the land border after many long months. Travel is a core component of the economy and job creation, and today’s announcement will spur a rebound of both in Canada.” Barnes added, “We urge the Biden administration to reciprocate by determining a date and a plan to welcome Canadian visitors at U.S. land borders. Land travel accounted for more than half of all overnight visits to the U.S. by Canadians pre-pandemic, so taking this step – given the strong rates of vaccination in Canada – will help the U.S. begin safely rebuilding with its No. 1 source market of international visitors.
“Each month that travel from Canada remains at a standstill comes at a cost to the U.S. economy of $1.5 billion in potential travel exports.”
A Sign of Improving Times (With Some Caveats)
“The Government of Canada recognizes that people have been anxiously awaiting a re-opening of the border to the world. We have been fully engaged with our American counterparts given the deep economic and family ties between our two countries. [This] announcement is another big step in our approach to easing border measures which is guided by facts, scientific evidence and the advice of our public health experts,” Bill Blair, Canadian Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, said.
The loosening of restrictions follows Canada’s continually improving vaccination rate, which recently surpassed that of the U.S., as well as other health metrics. Now the question is whether the U.S. will make the decision reciprocal. According to Politico, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters at a press conference, “We are continuing to review our travel restrictions. Any decisions about reopening travel will be guided by our public health and medical experts…I wouldn’t look at it through a reciprocal intention.”
And in fact, citing the currently rising rates in COVID-19 infections in the U.S., the government has since announced it is extending border restrictions on non-essential travel for U.S. citizens to Mexico and Canada until August 21, according to the Federal Register. The restrictions had been due to lift on July 22. This news didn’t sit well with U.S. Travel. Barnes released a statement on July 21 saying, ““Canada made the right call in releasing a timeline for vaccinated Americans to cross the land border and visit, and it is past time that the U.S. reciprocates: There is no difference between a fully vaccinated Canadian and a fully vaccinated American. We urge the Biden administration to determine a date and a plan as quickly as possible to welcome Canadian visitors at U.S. land borders.”
U.S. travelers to Canada must use the ArriveCAN app or web portal to submit their travel information and determine their eligibility to meet specific entry criteria. They still will have to pass a pre-entry COVID-19 molecular test, but they will not need to provide a post-arrival test as well unless they are randomly selected to complete a Day 1 COVID-19 molecular test. All mandatory testing requirements still stand for unvaccinated travelers from any point of origin, according to the Canadian Public Health Agency.
Fully vaccinated U.S. travelers to Canada also should be prepared to quarantine in case they run into trouble passing the requirements at the border. Also, territories and provinces may have their own entry restrictions still in place, so all U.S. travelers are advised to check regional restrictions before traveling, as well as bring a copy of their vaccination documentation in either English or French
Airport Availability Also to Expand
International flights, which currently are allowed to land at Montréal-Trudeau International Airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport, Calgary International Airport, and Vancouver International Airport, also will be permitted to land at five additional Canadian 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.
“Canadians’ safety and security always come first. With rising vaccination rates and fewer cases in Canada, we can begin to safely ease border measures. A gradual approach to reopening will allow our health authorities to monitor the COVID-19 situation here and abroad. Canadians have worked hard and sacrificed for each other, and because of that work, we can take these next steps safely,” Patty Hajdu, Canadian Minister of Health, said.
Reach Tori Emerson Barnes at (202) 408.8422; reach David DuBois at 972- 687-9204 or firstname.lastname@example.org
NOTE: This article has been updated to include information about the continuation of U.S. border restrictions with Mexico and Canada, and Barnes statement in response.