Canada prepares to ease quarantine rules for vaccinated travelers

Joanna Estrada
June 9, 2021

Trudeau says the safety of Canadians will be a priority and that he will be working with Premiers to gradually relax border restrictions when the time is right.

The European Union is allowing travellers from a handful of countries to visit the continent this summer, and several of the bloc's members have their own rules layered on top of that about who needs a COVID-19 test before arrival.

"A fourth wave would be devastating, not just to the economy but to morale."

"President Biden formally asked for a border reopening plan immediately after taking office, and so far, Canada has been slow to make any public progress".

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, however, has yet to outline a timeline for reopening, other than to say it will depend on cases and vaccination levels.

"We're not going to get ahead of ourselves, though", Trudeau added. "We are looking at how we're going to start welcoming tourists in phased ways as numbers come down in Canada and the United States", said Trudeau during a virtual conference with the St. John's Board of Trade.

Airlines in the US and Canada are pushing the federal government in Ottawa to reopen the border between the two countries and allow more flights.

President Joe Biden's administration has also faced increasing demands to reopen the border, from rank-and-file lawmakers like New York Democrat Rep. Brian Higgins and Republican counterpart Rep. Chris Jacobs, as well as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

"We will have more announcements to make regarding measures that may be eased for those who have had both doses in the weeks to come".

According to The White House, 52 per cent of Americans are fully vaccinated.

That latter figure may pale in comparison to the 42 per cent of Americans who have received both doses, but it represents a marked improvement over the 4.5 per cent of just three weeks ago.

Federal officials have looked to restrict movement of non-essential travellers for more than a year, even banning at times direct flights from countries like India and the variants of COVID-19 have raised concerns.

He says it's critically important that Canadians make every effort to get both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available. More than 60% of Canadians have received a first dose with about 8% fully vaccinated, according to data tracked by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

The government should "clearly spell out how and when we will restart air travel between Canada and the USA, with the objective of releasing the plan prior to June 21", the National Airlines Council of Canada and Airlines for America said in a joint letter sent to three Canadian cabinet ministers.

Every month since March 2020, Canada and the US have extended the border restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19.

In addition to removing the COVID-19 test and quarantine requirements, the business groups are also asking the Canadian and USA governments to mutually recognize vaccine credentials to support the movement of inoculated citizens and produce a plan the includes clear guidelines for all other travelers.

Signatories to the letter include the Canadian and US chambers of commerce, the Retail Council of Canada, the National Retail Federation in the USA, the Business Council of Canada, industry group the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters and the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business.

Doing so, they said, "would sustain jobs, boost business confidence and allow more families to reunite. It would help facilitate a safe and gradual return to a more normal life".

USA lawmakers have also been pestering the Biden administration to begin easing restrictions before the summer travel season begins in earnest.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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