Canada Canada-U.S. border news brings travel hope. Here’s how to do it safely

01:43  14 october  2021
01:43  14 october  2021 Source:   globalnews.ca

U.S. to reopen Canada, Mexico land border to vaccinated travellers in early November

  U.S. to reopen Canada, Mexico land border to vaccinated travellers in early November A U.S. congressman announced the news ahead of its anticipated announcement by the White House on Wednesday, which will be expanded to include essential travellers in January. The United States is set to reopen its land borders with Canada and Mexico in early November to travellers who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to U.S. officials -- a move nearly 20 months in the making.

"Cross- border travel creates significant economic activity in our border communities and benefits our broader economy. We are pleased to be taking steps to resume regular travel in a safe and sustainable manner," Mayorkas said in a statement. Beatty also called on Canada to eliminate the need for a pre-departure test, as well as to work with the U . S . on an interoperable vaccine certification system in order to deal with anticipated higher travel volumes. Drew Dilkens, the mayor of Windsor, Ont., called Wednesday' s announcement "a long time coming," but echoed calls for more details about the

You are here : Canada .ca. Travel . Before re-entering the U . S ., you must report to the nearest Canada Border Services Agency land border crossing to confirm that you are leaving Canada . Officers will look for signs of illness, regardless of how you respond to screening questions. News . Treaties, laws and regulations. Government-wide reporting.

An Air Canada Express Bombardier/Mitsubishi CRJ900 regional jet lands at sunset, Vancouver International Airport, Richmond, B.C. on Friday, October 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Bayne Stanley © THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Bayne Stanley An Air Canada Express Bombardier/Mitsubishi CRJ900 regional jet lands at sunset, Vancouver International Airport, Richmond, B.C. on Friday, October 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Bayne Stanley

With the news that the Canada-U.S. border restrictions are set to lift come November, Canadians might find themselves loading up on gas and preparing to take advantage of the newfound freedom. But Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland is warning people to continue to "listen closely" to advice from Canadian officials and medical authorities.

‘Rules are the rules’: Freeland mum on removing PCR testing for Canada border

  ‘Rules are the rules’: Freeland mum on removing PCR testing for Canada border The Canadian border is currently open to recreational travel, but only to those who can prove they've been fully vaccinated and can present a negative PCR test. Read more: Business groups urge Canada to scrap PCR test requirement, as U.S. border nears reopening But boards of trade, chambers of commerce and tourism organizations in both the United States and Canada have called on the government to scrap that requirement. Speaking in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, Freeland appeared closed off to the idea -- for now. "Canadians do need a valid PCR test to go back to Canada.

Canada - U . S . border wait times. Register as a Canadian abroad. Apply for NEXUS. What you can bring home to Canada. Contact an embassy or consulate. Cannabis and international travel . If you are driving to Canada from the United States, the table below will keep you up to date on border wait times for entry into Canada. The ports of entry are listed geographically from east to west. The estimated wait times are updated at least once an hour, so refresh or reload this page to make sure you have the latest information.

Canadian Public Safety Minister Bill Blair welcomed the news . "Today’ s announcement is one more step toward returning to normal," Blair said, noting that from Oct. 30 Canadians will need to be fully vaccinated to travel within Canada by plane and various trains. U . S . Travel Association President Roger Dow welcomed the news , saying declines in international visitation since the start of the pandemic "have resulted in more than 0 billion in lost export income and more than a million U . S . jobs.

As things stand now, that advice is still to avoid non-essential travel.

"Just be careful. We have almost, almost gotten past COVID. We have high national vaccination rates,” Freeland said.

“Just try to do the things you need to do and maybe hold back on doing the things that you just want to do. And I think if we can keep on doing that for a few more weeks, Canada can really fully put COVID behind us.”

Still, if you do decide to travel, here's how infectious disease specialists say you can do it safely.

The first and most important thing you can do to keep your travel plans low-risk is get vaccinated, according to the experts.

"That's going to be, obviously, helpful from a health standpoint, but also from the regulatory standpoint of getting in and out of the (United) States and Canada," said Dr. Zain Chagla, an infectious disease specialist.

What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Friday, Oct. 22

  What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Friday, Oct. 22 Here's CBC Ottawa's latest roundup of key updates during the coronavirus pandemic. Carla Qualtrough, Canada's employment minister, says it's likely that people who lose their jobs for not complying with employer COVID-19 vaccine policies will not be eligible for employment insurance.

JULY 15 UPDATE: Here ’ s when Canada ’ s Trudeau sees border opening, with ‘positive path of vaccination rate’. While none of us know for sure when we’ll be allowed to cross the U . S .- Canada border for non-essential reasons, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made it clear there is one group that won’t be A top Canadian doctor told the Toronto Star he hopes the two countries decide to keep the border closed for the rest of the summer, calling the risk of opening it to travel too risky, especially as both countries are starting to see increased cases of the more transmissible delta variant.

How does it work? Wednesday' s update follows the White House' s Sept. 20 announcement saying the U . S . would implement a new international air travel system in "early November," allowing foreign travelers with COVID-19 vaccines approved by U . S . Food and Drug Administration or World Health Organization "We want to have a consistent approach to both land and air entry into this country. And so this is the next step to bring those into alignment," senior administration officials said. The new land border travel restrictions will be broken into two phases, both of which introduce vaccine mandates

Read more: U.S. to reopen Canada, Mexico land border to vaccinated travellers in early November

Under the United States' new rules, non-essential travellers will be asked about their vaccination status at land border crossings, and only those who are fully vaccinated will be allowed through -- with no testing requirement. Proof of vaccination will be required if selected for random screening.

If you aren't vaccinated, your plans will fall apart then and there. However, if you are vaccinated, the next thing to consider is where you want to go.

"We know that COVID has varying numbers in terms of the incidence and prevalence of that viral infection in different countries," said Dr. Gerald Evans, an infectious disease specialist at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont.

"And so the first thing I'd look at is what is the current sort of incidence and prevalence of the infection within that country."

The West Block – Episode 49, Season 10

  The West Block – Episode 49, Season 10 Watch the full episode of The West Block with host Abigail Bimman – Oct 17, 2021. Episode 49, Season 10

Many Canadians applaud the government for its strict travel restrictions, implemented to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in the country. However, some affected groups — such as the travel industry — have urged Ottawa to relax some restrictions in ways they say would provide minimal risk. (Cyprus Deputy Ministry of Tourism). Airlines ask for change. Travel and tourism groups desperate for business have argued that Canada could safely reopen its borders with added safety measures, such as maintaining a ban on high-risk countries, including the U . S . Late last month, a dozen top executives

The U . S .- Canada border closed to travelers on March 20, 2020. Currently, the Canadian border is only open to essential travel , and the Canadian government hasn’t released a plan yet for restarting non-essential travel for international travelers . The Biden Administration announced on June 8 it is forming expert working groups with Canada as well as the United Kingdom (UK), Mexico and the European Union (EU) to determine how to lift border restrictions. However, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a press conference June 8 that she didn’t have a prediction for when the

Video: U.S. expected to reopen land border to vaccinated Canadians in November

Evans said that countries like the United States, Brazil and India have a higher number of COVID-19 cases than elsewhere around the world. However, the U.K., India and Russia have more new cases cropping up on a regular basis. These are all factors to consider when settling on a vacation destination, according to Evans.

Another helpful indicator is a country's vaccination rates, according to Dr. Anna Banerji, a Toronto physician and an expert on the spread of infectious diseases.

It's a good idea "to be selective in where you go" and to try to go "to places where there are high rates of vaccination," she said.

Finally, making sure you're educated about any specific requirements for things like testing can help keep you safe — and keep your wallet full.

"There may be certain rules in place where you need a specific kind of COVID test a certain number of days before your flight," Banerji said.

"Otherwise, you can't return back. And if, you miss the flight, it could be very expensive."

What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Saturday, Oct. 23

  What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Saturday, Oct. 23 Here's CBC Ottawa's latest roundup of key updates during the coronavirus pandemic.Starting Monday, the province will lift capacity limits in the majority of settings where proof of vaccination is required, including restaurants, indoor sports facilities and gyms, casinos, bingo halls and indoor meeting and event spaces.

Other questions to consider while travelling include: where you're staying and how COVID-safe that environment is, whether friends you're visiting are vaccinated, and whether there are any vulnerable people in your household that would be at-risk should you bring the virus home, both Evans and Banerji said.

"Those are the kind of considerations you get into when you've already decided where your destination is going to be," said Evans.

Even if the environment itself doesn't require you to do things like masking or distancing, Banerji says you can still choose to take added steps to reduce your risk.

Banerji advised prospective travellers to "avoid large groups of people where they may be unvaccinated."

"And even though the policy may be very loose as far as wearing masks, I would continue to wear a mask," she added.

Read more: Canada-U.S. border reopening a chance for neighbours to ‘connect again’

That's because some regions might have a higher prevalence of COVID-19 variants, Banerji warned, such as the Lambda variant, which is far more prevalent in South America than it is in Canada. Travellers who are infected abroad can risk bringing these kinds of variants home with them.

"You may be exposed to different strains of COVID than what we have here, right now," she said.

What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Friday, Oct. 8

  What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Friday, Oct. 8 Here's CBC Ottawa's latest roundup of key updates during the coronavirus pandemic.Trudeau laid out his government's vaccine policy earlier this week, which includes a new rule that federal employees must report their vaccination status by Oct. 29 — and if they are not fully immunized, they risk unpaid leave. The rule also applies to federal contractors such as cleaning staff.

"You may be exposed to the Lambda strain rather than Delta strain, and then you might bring it back (and) introducing new kinds of viruses, COVID viruses, into Canada or where you live."

Still, at the end of the day, being vaccinated seriously changes the likelihood of any of these considerations becoming a big issue, according to Chagla.

"It's not going to get safer to travel during the pandemic," he said. "Being fully vaccinated changes the scope of this disease."

Armed with vaccines, Chagla said he thinks it's "reasonable to consider" travelling at this point.

"Just make sure you know your requirements, and vaccine requirements, industry requirements as you're doing it," he said.

Banerji added that it might be wise to just wait for the fourth wave to settle down, but she doesn't foresee "a huge fifth wave."

"COVID will be around for a while. It's going to smoulder on and mainly ... infect the unvaccinated people," she said.

"So you should be careful where you go and who you are with."

Despite the considerations at play when it comes to the question of travel, many Canadians still have strong motivations to try to safely take a trip.

Joann Arpino's dad lives a 27-minute drive away, but he hasn't been over to her house in well over a year.

That's because Arpino's father lives on the other side of the border, in Canada, while Joann lives in the United States.

COVID-19 forced politicians to snap the border shut in March of 2020, separating Arpino from many of her loved ones. In the time since, Arpino had her first child. Her dad and some of her closest friends have never seen the baby in the comfort of its own home.

But that's going to change soon. In early November, the U.S. will open its land borders to fully-vaccinated Canadians — which includes Arpino's family.

"I woke up this morning, and I had text messages from my mom, my sister, friends...I was excited. My friends were excited. My family was excited. We just felt really relieved because we've been waiting for a really long time for that to happen," Arpino said.

Her family has been cautious throughout the entire pandemic. Now, they're all vaccinated — and she's hoping they can gather by American Thanksgiving in late November.

"I'm excited that they can come here because they haven't been able to see my life in two years and what's been going on here," Arpino said.

"Hopefully they'll be able to come over this way and see what I've been up to see my place and celebrate together."

PCR travel tests remain because Canada’s not ‘out of the woods yet,’ Tam says .
COVID-19 PCR travel tests aren't going away yet, despite Canada lifting its non-essential travel advisory that was put in place at the start of the pandemic, Dr. Theresa Tam says.Dr. Theresa Tam, chief public health officer of Canada, told reporters during a news conference on Friday that while officials are reviewing protective measures at border entries, the country isn’t “out of the woods yet.

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