The Canadian government will ease COVID-19 travel restrictions for fully vaccinated people amid warnings that returning to fully open borders will take longer.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government said in a statement on Monday that Canadian citizens and residents who received two injections will be exempted from a 14-day quarantine upon arrival in the country.
Travelers will still need to prove they have had a negative test COVID-19 Before crossing into Canada and taking a second border test. Those arriving by air, who are currently expected to perform the first three days of quarantine in a hotel, will be exempted from this requirement.
The changes, which take effect on July 5, are a gradual first step toward easing restrictions as the government faces growing impatience to allow greater freedom of movement between the United States and Canada.
Trudeau’s border chief said Sunday that there will be no full reopening to allow tourist travel to resume until 75% of Canadians are fully vaccinated.
The government’s cautious approach drew condemnation from the head of the global airline lobby. “I don’t understand Canada,” Willie Walsh, chief executive of the International Air Transport Association, said Monday during an interview in Paris.
“It’s not just about holidays, it’s business decisions. Future decisions will be made based on people’s experiences and my experience in Canada is very bad,” Walsh said. “The IATA is based in Montreal and said he cannot visit their headquarters.”
The US-Canada border has been closed for most travel since March 2020. On Friday, governments extended restrictions on non-essential travel until at least July 21.
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair told Canadian Broadcasting Corp. Sunday: “We haven’t reached the finish line, and the finish line is when a large majority of Canadians, about 75%, are fully vaccinated.” Currently, less than a fifth of Canadians have received two injections, according to data compiled by CTV News.
Border restrictions separated families, barred tourists and students, and impeded the world’s largest bilateral trade relationship. While trucks and trains continued to move goods, Canada’s tourism and travel-related business lost nearly C$20 billion ($16 billion) in revenue last year, according to one estimate.