Canada will open to fully vaccinated US citizens Aug. 9

Jul 19, 2021

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Canada on July 19 said that it would reopen its borders to fully vaccinated U.S. citizens beginning on Aug. 9.

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“With rising vaccination rates and fewer cases in Canada, we can begin to safely ease border measures,”  Canada’s Minister of Health Patty Hajdu said 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 move doesn’t come as a surprise — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that week that Canada could begin allowing American tourists starting in mid-August. But reopening Canada to Americans for leisure reasons does mark a major step in the reopening of the border between the two nations, which has largely remained shut since March 2020.

There will be a two-step reopening process.

U.S. citizens and permanent residents who have been fully vaccinated (14 days past the final dose) will be allowed to enter Canada for non-essential travel purposes beginning Aug. 9. These travelers, whether driving across the border or flying, will still have to take a test within 72 hours of departure and test on arrival.

Canada also said that it intends to open its borders to citizens of other countries as of Sept. 7 if things don’t deteriorate.

Canada says it will be open to any fully vaccinated traveler with an approved vaccine that meets specific entry requirements if the “domestic epidemiologic situation remains favorable.” That means if cases remain stable, vaccinated travelers from other countries should be welcome beginning in September.

Unvaccinated children under 12 will be allowed to enter Canada but must submit their information electronically through ArriveCAN and meet all testing requirements.

The U.S. Travel Association, an organization that represents the travel industry, praised the move — and called for the Biden administration to recommend a plan to restart nonessential travel by Canadian citizens to the U.S.

“We urge the Biden administration to reciprocate by determining a date and a plan to welcome Canadian visitors at U.S. land borders,” executive vice president Tori Emerson Barnes said in a statement. The United States has a nonessential travel ban for Canada that has been extended on a near-monthly basis since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier this month, Canada made the first move in easing restrictions — but only for Canadians. As of July 5, Canadian citizens and permanent residents who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can skip a mandatory 14-day quarantine on arrival in the country. Additionally, those entering by air no longer need to spend their first three days in the country at a government-approved hotel.

Canada had a very public delayed vaccination program, but half of Canadians are now fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. According to Johns Hopkins University data, the country has recorded over 1.4 million positive cases and over 26,000 deaths.

With vaccinations in the country on the rise and positive cases down, and with several large countries opening for tourism, some think it’s time for Canada to relax its policy further. The travel industry has clamored for travel corridors they believe would help the sector rebound from pandemic-related losses.

Tourism generated $105 billion and supported one in 10 Canadian jobs, according to one report. And the U.S. Travel Association said the U.S. loses $1.5 billion every month that the border remains closed between the two countries.

However, the U.S. doesn’t appear to be rushing to reopen its border with Canada, which means a full “travel corridor” isn’t on the horizon, at least for now.

“We look and are guided by our own medical experts. I wouldn’t look at it through a reciprocal intention,” the White House said on July 19, according to CNN.

Featured photo by Cole Burston/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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