Canada to open border to U.S. travelers August 9, while U.S. nixes reciprocation

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The Canadian border will reopen to fully vaccinated U.S. travelers Monday, August 9 and then reopen unilaterally to vaccinated travelers from other countries September 7, according to a Canadian government announcement on July 19. 

U.S. travelers with a negative Covid-19 test two weeks or more since their last vaccine dose will be able to enter Canada for non-essential reasons as of 12:01 a.m. EDT August 9.

The announcement came just days before the U.S./Canada ban on non-essential travel was set to expire July 21, after the 15th extension was set to end. The U.S./Canada border has been closed since March 2020 to limit the spread of Covid-19.

Children under 12 will no longer be required to quarantine, but will still need to avoid group settings such as school and childcare. Adult travelers who are not fully vaccinated will still be required to quarantine for 14 days and take a Covid-19 test on their first and eighth day of arriving in Canada.

A Public Health Agency of Canada news release said the border would first open to fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and residents so the Canadian government could prepare for opening the border to vaccinated travelers from other countries in September and as recognition of the strong partnership between Canada and the U.S.

All travelers will be required to use ArriveCAN, the government’s app for Covid-19 vaccination and test records. Fully vaccinated travelers will still be required to submit proof of a Covid-19 test within 72 hours of crossing into Canada, but they will not be required to take a Covid-19 test after arriving.

Travelers will need to be vaccinated with one of Canada’s approved Covid-19 vaccines: Moderna, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson or AstraZeneca.

The Canadian government will no longer require the three-day hotel quarantine for vaccinated and unvaccinated air travelers August 9, but travelers must still have a quarantine plan in place. This decision was based upon the increase in Covid-19 vaccinations, declining Covid-19 cases and fewer Covid-19 hospitalizations, according to the news release.

“Canadians’ safety and security always come first. With rising vaccination rates and fewer cases in Canada, we can begin to safely ease border measures,” said Patty Hajdu, Canada’s minister of health, in a statement. “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.”

The announcement comes after July 5, when the Canadian government began allowing fully vaccinated travelers to forgo the 14-day quarantine and Covid-19 test on their eighth day of arrival.

On July 19, 43.7 percent of Canada’s total population was fully vaccinated and 68.8 percent had received at least one Covid-19 vaccine dose. In B.C., 40.2 is the cumulative percent of the population fully vaccinated and 70.9 of the cumulative percent have at least one vaccine dose. 

Canada started off slower than the U.S. with vaccination rates, but is now catching up. The country had delayed first and second doses in two-dose vaccines to help provide immunity, although to a lesser degree, to a greater number of residents.

In the U.S., 48.6 percent of the total population is fully vaccinated and 56.1 percent has had at least one vaccine dose.

The U.S. government announced July 21 it would not reciprocate the border opening.

“We are continuing to review our travel restrictions. Any decisions about reopening travel will be guided by our public health and medical experts,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during a July 19 press conference. “We take this incredibly seriously, but we look and are guided by our own medical experts. I wouldn’t look at it through a reciprocal intention.”

 

Tips to navigate crossing the  Canada border next month

• Travelers need to submit ArriveCAN information within 72 hours of arriving at the border crossing. ArriveCAN can be downloaded as an app or used online at bit.ly/3iO5E71.

• People without a computer or phone should try to log into ArriveCAN on a library computer and print the information for travel. People who don’t use ArriveCAN won’t be denied entry into Canada, but they won’t get the fully vaccinated traveler exemption, may be delayed at the border with additional health screenings and may be subject to fines or enforcement action.

• People not traveling into Canada may register information in ArriveCAN for someone else and print the information to give to the traveler. The traveler can call 1-833-641-0343 for reporting if they have a 14-day quarantine.

• One person may include other travelers in their ArriveCAN information. They may include spouses, children and adults for whom they’re a legal guardian. 

• All travelers 5 and older need a Covid-19 test within 72 hours of entering Canada by land or air. The test needs to be a molecular test, not a rapid antigen test.

• Travelers need to keep their Covid-19 test results for 14 days, beginning the day they enter Canada. The test results can either be paper or electronic.

• All travelers will need to take a Covid-19 test at land border crossings. People may save time at the border by registering with the testing provider for the border crossing they will be going through. The Douglas (Peace Arch), Pacific Highway and Abbotsford border crossings are partnered with LifeLabs. More information at lifelabs.com/covidkit, 1-877-313-4982 and ClientService@lifelabs.com.

• At the border, people who are unvaccinated will receive a day 8 at-home Covid-19 test kit.

• Fully vaccinated travelers do not need to quarantine unless they receive a positive Covid-19 test result on arrival.

Correction:  This article was updated July 22 to clarify a Covid-19 test is required within 72 hours of entering into Canada. 

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