Editor’s note: This story has been updated with new information.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed during the G-7 Summit in June that he spoke with President Joe Biden about “coordinating measures at our borders as both our countries move ahead with mass vaccination,” Reuters reported, and some restrictions on select individuals will begin loosening on July 5, 2021.
But the two countries agreed to extend the nonessential travel ban between the U.S. and Canada through July 21, 2021, so leisure travel to and from Canada is still out of reach for now.
Here’s what we know so far.
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Phase 1 begins July 5
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.
But for those who are eligible to travel, July 5 will bring lessened restrictions for entering the country.
Until July 5, all travelers to Canada are required to take a PCR test upon arrival and pay for a three-day quarantine in a government-approved hotel while waiting for test results. If the traveler’s test returns a negative result, they will be able to finish their mandatory 14-day quarantine at home. If a traveler’s test comes back positive, they will be required to quarantine in designated government facilities.
Starting July 5, eligible travelers to Canada will be able to bypass quarantine requirements and the test requirement on day eight if they’re fully vaccinated. However, all eligible travelers (which does not include leisure travelers from the U.S.) will still have to submit COVID-19-related information into ArriveCAN ahead of arrival, meet the test requirements, be asymptomatic and have a suitable quarantine plan according to Canada’s backgrounder on Phase 1 of easing border measures.
Related: Canada extends border closure to the U.S. through July 21
Leisure travel is still banned
As of now, the border will remain closed until July 21. The border closure has been pushed back on a near-monthly basis, so there’s also no guarantee that July 21 is the magic reopening date.
“Our number one priority as we fight [COVID-19] is keeping Canadians safe,” Canada’s minister of public safety and emergency preparedness, Bill Blair, said in a tweet on June 18.
Trudeau has said he would like to wait until at least 75% of Canadians are fully vaccinated before reopening the border, but he’s facing pressure from officials to reopen as soon as 75% of Canadians have received their first shot instead. As of June 12, more than 29 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in Canada and more than 70% of the population who are 12 and older have received their first dose.
Either way, the border reopening won’t happen all at once, but rather in a phased system, as proposed by the Canadian government. The aforementioned Phase 1 begins July 5 with quarantine and testing requirements easing for travelers currently allowed entry.
Allowing fully vaccinated Canadians to bypass quarantine with a negative COVID-19 test result is a step in the right direction, and hopefully fully vaccinated Americans will be next.
That said, given that fully vaccinated Canadians still must take a COVID-19 test upon entry, Americans planning to visit Canada once the border reopens should still expect to jump through a few hoops before — such as taking a COVID-19 test and wearing a mask in public spaces.
Additional reporting by Madison Blancaflor.
Featured image by Anna Gorin/Getty Images.
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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
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