Canada – USA Border Closure Extended May 21, 2021
Canada and the U.S. have agreed to extend the ban on nonessential travel between the United States and Canada through May 21, 2021. Government leaders in both countries first announced the border closure more than one year ago on March 21, 2020, and since then there have been extensions every month in order to protect the borders, especially with the third wave of COVID-19 and multiple variants.
One year ago, per capita, the U.S. had approximately 50% more confirmed cases of COVID-19 and mortality rates, compared to Canada. Daily new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canada have skyrocketed amid the third wave of the pandemic and have now outpaced the United States per capita. According to data from Johns Hopkins University and the University of Oxford’s “Our World in Data explorer”, the rolling seven-day average of new cases in Canada stands at 207.27 and in the U.S. it is 206.66 per million people.
Canada’s Travel Restrictions
Canada has continued to put in place orders and measures to contain the pandemic, despite which, the increased number of cases. On February 15th, Prime Minister Trudeau announced that travelers entering via a land border will be required to produce the result of a negative COVID-19 PCR test. People who fail to do so could be fined up to $2,370. Prior to February, the negative PCR test requirement was only applicable to air travelers boarding any flight entering Canada.
In addition to the requirement of mandator pre-testing, Canada is also requiring a PCR test upon arrival. a quarantine act where ALL travelers, unless otherwise exempted, must isolate and quarantine for a period of 14 days. In addition, air travelers have the added requirement of a 3-day quarantine at a government-approved hotel at the traveler’s expense to wait for the result. If the test is negative, the traveler may complete the mandatory 14-day quarantine at home, but if it is positive, they must quarantine in a government-designated facility.
In early February, Canada extended its ban on cruise ships, prohibiting vessels carrying 100 or more people until Feb. 28, 2022. The ban also effectively closes the Canadian Arctic to boat-related tourism until 2022 and puts the entire Alaska cruise season in jeopardy.
Who Can Enter Canada?
At this time, only Canadian citizens, permanent residents, people registered under Canada’s Indian Act, protected persons, select foreign nationals traveling for essential reasons, and immediate family members of Canadian citizens or residents are allowed to enter Canada. There are some exceptions to this. Extended Family Members and long-term couples are now able to reunite, as well as entry for compassionate reasons.
Arrive Can App
Canada introduced the ArriveCAN mobile app, which speeds up the arrival process of travelers. All travelers must provide contact information upon arrival in Canada so Public Health is able to contact them to ensure compliance to the quarantine plan. This form can be accessed in paper or digital form.
At this time, masks are required by law in Canada. Masks are mandatory for travelers flying from, to, or within Canada both on planes and in airports.
There are plans for Canada to increase its travel restrictions in light of the surge in COVID-19 variant cases.