Canada will take the first step in easing border restrictions next month by waiving mandatory quarantine measures for fully vaccinated Canadians returning to the country.
Starting July 5, Canadian citizens and permanent residents who have received the final dose of an approved vaccine at least 14 days before arriving will be exempt from having to quarantine and take a COVID-19 test on day 8 as well as exempt from having to stay in a government hotel upon arrival, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada. The country accepts the Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
The new policy comes months after Canada started requiring incoming travelers who arrive by air to get tested prior to coming, get tested again upon arrival, and quarantine in an approved hotel for up to three days while awaiting their results.
Under the new rules, vaccinated travelers will still have to get tested before traveling and upon arrival. Unvaccinated travelers will remain subject to the current quarantine protocols.
Flights, which are currently routed through one of four major cities – Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary, or Montreal – will continue to be funneled through those airports.
"Our phased approach to easing border measures is guided by facts, scientific evidence, and the advice of our public health experts. In all that we're doing in response to this pandemic, our top priority continues to be the health, safety and security of all Canadians," Canadian Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said in a statement, adding the government continues to "strongly advise Canadians to avoid non-essential travel."
The new rules are a step toward easing travel restrictions, but the land border between the United States and Canada remains closed to non-essential travel. Earlier this week, the closure was extended another month until at least July 21.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said the border will remain shut until at least 75% of Canadians have received at least one dose of a vaccine and 20% are considered fully vaccinated.
So far, just over 73% of eligible Canadians 12 and older have received at least a first dose, but only about 14.7% are fully vaccinated, according to the government.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.
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