While some fully vaccinated travelers may be able to avoid quarantine and the costly hotel stay when they return home, it could be difficult to travel with children. The new federal rules, announced Monday, will also give headaches to Quebecers who have already contracted COVID-19 and to whom a single dose of vaccine is offered.
The federal Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Dominic LeBlanc, warned Monday that the border reductions will be implemented gradually, “according to the reduction of risks”. The first phase of easing, which will come into force on July 6, does not open the door to foreign tourists.
At the most, it will allow those who could already return to the country not to have to make the quarantine of return to the country, nor to pay three nights in an authorized hotel while waiting to obtain a negative result, provided that they are fully vaccinated. All other health measures incumbent on travelers are maintained, such as registration to the ArriveCan portal, the obligation to present a negative test for COVID-19 before departure, then to perform a second test on arrival.
These measures also fall far short of making travel easier for anyone wishing to travel to one of the countries in the world that accepts Canadian tourists. Family travel will remain complicated. Children under 12, who do not have access to the vaccine, will not be able to avoid quarantine, although their vaccinated parents will be able to go about their business when they return. The family will at least be able to save on the government-approved hotel.
“The advice of our team of scientists and public health experts is to protect Canadians from contact with cases of COVID. [Les enfants] can do their quarantine at home, with in mind that any unvaccinated traveler is potentially infected with COVID, ”explained the Minister of Health, Patty Hajdu.
Patients now recovered from COVID-19 and who have been vaccinated in Quebec are also, for the moment, excluded from the exemption from federal quarantine. Ottawa only considers fully immunized people who have obtained all of the recommended doses of a vaccine licensed in Canada, either two doses of the Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines, or one dose of Johnson Johnson. However, Quebec considers that a single dose is sufficient to protect those who have already contracted the disease.
The Minister of Health has promised to follow up with federal scientists to provide “a response very quickly.” In the meantime, these travelers will have to quarantine.
Asked about this, the Premier of Quebec, François Legault, said he discussed this subject with his federal counterpart, Justin Trudeau. “Our specialists think it should be considered a complete vaccination, but you understand that we have no control over the requirements of Americans, Europeans or other countries in the world,” he explained.
François Legault also said he was in favor of opening the borders, starting with that of the United States, “but on condition that we require that people have received their two doses”.
The start of easing announced Monday by Ottawa was not associated with any clear plan for next steps towards reopening the border with the United States, industry groups and the official opposition in the Commons criticized. .
“Today’s announcement goes [aider] Canadians to travel on business, but will continue to prevent visitors who want to come to Canada. Canadian communities depend on tourism jobs and businesses that need to bring in workers from other countries, ”the Canadian Chamber of Commerce said in a statement.
“A transparent plan with clear benchmarks for reopening the trip would be a powerful tool to encourage Canadians to get vaccinated,” the Business Council of Canada said.
The Conservative Party of Canada has added its voice to the critics. “This lack of leadership by the Trudeau Liberals is unequivocal. Instead of presenting a clear plan with measures, they prefer to leave businesses and citizens in the dark. It’s shameful, ”said MP Pierre Paul-Hus.
Again on Monday, the Government of Canada reiterated that it “urges” Canadians to avoid all non-essential overseas travel. According to Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, the United States and Canada agree that it is too early to consider any reopening of the border. “We are not there yet, for the moment. “
The border between Canada and the United States must remain closed until at least July 21.
With Marie-Michèle Sioui