WASHINGTON – The US-Canadian border will open a bit more starting Monday, as Canada eases its requirement that most visiting children be vaccinated and abandons its mandate that vaccinated visitors provide a quarantine plan just in case they come down with Covid-19.
“We are committed to a safe reopening, one that provides predictability, flexibility and shows the world that Canada is one of the safest places to travel,” Randy Boissonnault, Canada’s minister of tourism, said in announcing the moves on Friday. “Today’s announcement is another step forward for traveling families, tourism workers and business owners, and the Canadian economy as a whole.”
While Canadian officials made clear several months ago that seasonal homes that are not winterized would be exempt from the tax, the Canadian plan continues to worry both Americans who own property in Canada and sympathetic politicians in Southern Ontario.
Under the changes taking effect at 1 am Monday, unvaccinated or partially vaccinated children aged 5-11 who are entering Canada won’t have to show proof of a negative test for Covid-19 so long as they are accompanied by a fully vaccinated parent, step-parent, guardian or tutor. Children under the age of 5 already don’t have to show proof of a negative test. Partially vaccinated or unvaccinated travelers aged 12 and older who are eligible to enter Canada will still have to show proof of a negative test.
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The requirement that travelers provide a quarantine plan will be abandoned not just for fully vaccinated adults, but also for children aged 5 through 11 who are accompanied by a fully vaccinated parent, step-parent, guardian or tutor.
In addition, starting Monday, fully vaccinated travelers to Canada will no longer have to do the following for the 14 days after their arrival:
• Wear a mask in public spaces.
• Monitor and report if they develop symptoms of Covid-19.
• Quarantine if a traveling companion reports symptoms or tests positive.
• Maintain a list of close contacts and locations visited.
However, Canada will continue to require that visitors show their vaccination status and other personal details in the ArriveCAN app.
“Thanks to Canadians who are following health measures and getting vaccinated, we are continuing to ease border measures,” said Marco EL Mendicino, Canada’s minister of public safety. “However, travelers may still experience delays at the border while some health requirements remain in place. People should be prepared by making sure they have their passports, ArriveCAN receipts and proof of vaccination ready when they cross into Canada.”
The Canadian move came a day after the US indefinitely extended its Covid-19 travel restrictions. That means only fully vaccinated travelers will continue to be admitted to the US via land or air.
Families Are Essential, a group that’s been working to eliminate border travel restrictions, noted that the vaccination requirement was extended amid pressure from the airline and tourism industries to abandon it.
“In his State of the Union speech, President Biden said it is time that we get back to normal, but how can the US get back to normal, reunite families and increase international tourism when travel restrictions remain in place?” the families group said in a statement.