Canada To Open Border To Fully Vaccinated US Citizens On Aug. 9

Canada said that it will begin easing pandemic restrictions at the US-Canada border next month, enabling US citizens and permanent residents who are fully vaccinated with Canadian-authorized shots to enter for nonessential travel without being quarantined.

The decision, which takes effect on Aug. 9, comes after months of criticism from members of Congress from both parties, business groups, as well as some travelers for what they deem to be an “overly cautious” approach to lifting restrictions that have separated families, harmed the tourism industry, and disrupted life in close-knit border communities.

Fully vaccinated United States citizens and permanent residents must be asymptomatic and submit a negative coronavirus molecular test within 72 hours of airplane departure or arrival at a land border to be eligible for entry.

They will also be needed to upload documentation of receiving a full series of an approved coronavirus vaccination to the Canadian government’s ArriveCan app or website at least 14 days prior to travel in English, French, or a certified translation — and carry an original copy with them.

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Open borders to all countries by September 7

Beginning Sept. 7, Canada will also open its borders to fully vaccinated passengers with Canadian-authorized vaccines who live in any country for discretionary travel “provided that Canada’s Covid-19 epidemiology remains favorable.”

Meanwhile, children under the age of 12 who are not yet eligible for an authorized coronavirus vaccine and are traveling with fully vaccinated parents will be exempt from the quarantine requirements —  although officials warned that they should avoid group  gatherings such as camps or day-care centers for the first 14 days after their arrival. 

On the first and eighth days after entering Canada, they will also be required to take a coronavirus test.

The government’s decision to ease restrictions for fully vaccinated Americans before the rest of the world is “an acknowledgement and recognition of our shared border, and our strong connection,” according to Canadian Public Safety Minister Bill Blair.

In March last year, Canada and the US decided to restrict non-essential crossings over their 5,500-mile land border, and the embargo has been extended month by month. 

Although Canadians have been permitted to fly to the United States for pleasure and tourism, Canada has restricted nonessential travel at its air and maritime borders.

Psaki: US to review travel restrictions

The US has not indicated yet whether Canadians will be allowed to cross the land border for non-essential trips as well. On Monday, White House spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters that the country’s travel restrictions are continuously being reviewed.

“Any questions about reopening travel will be guided by our public health and medical experts,” Psaki said. “We take this incredibly seriously, but we look and are guided by our own medical experts and … I wouldn’t look at it through a reciprocal intention.”

According to the data, 70% of Canadians have gotten at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, with about half of the population completely immunized. In the United States, 55% of people have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and 48% have had all the doses.

Following the announcement from Canada of lifting Covid-19 restrictions, Rep. Brian Higgins (New York), co-chairman of the Congressional Northern Border Caucus and one of the most outspoken advocates for loosening border controls in Canada, praised the country’s decision. He then took his wrath out on the US administration, claiming that a lack of binational collaboration would lead to uncertainty.

“We have missed you Canada and we are thrilled at the opportunity to return soon,” he said in a statement. “This measure can’t come soon enough.”

Myron Brilliant, executive vice president and head of the International Affairs Division at the US Chamber of Commerce also praised Canada’s announcement.

Welcome news, if long overdue. High vaccination rates in both the US and Canada make ending travel restrictions on our shared border not just possible, but essential,” he said.

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Steeve Strange

Steeve is the CEO & Co-Founder of The Scoop.