Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is reportedly preparing to ease border restrictions for travelers who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
As per POLITICO.com, the mayor of Canadian border cities say that Trudeau and other health officials within the Canadian government are planning to ease the current 14-day isolation period for tourists, provided they have completed their vaccine doses.
The updated coronavirus restrictions are expected to be announced in the coming days, with a launch date of June 22nd.
As per Jim Diodati, mayor of Niagara Falls, Ontario, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair delivered the optimistic news during a recent virtual meeting of border mayors from the province.
Blair is Trudeau’s cabinet minister who is responsible for the border.
“He didn’t put it in stone but he suggested that [June 22] is the date they’re looking at,” said Diodati “We’re hoping to get some more confirmation this week.”
During a virtual keynote address at the St. John’s Board of Trade Outlook Conference, Trudeau suggested that Canada is figuring out how it could be welcoming international visitors as the country’s COVID-19 situation continues to improve. The Prime Minister said the government’s first priority is to keep Canadians safe from a fourth wave of Covid-19, which would be “devastating” for the economy and morale, according to CBC Radio, Canada’s public broadcasting system.
To be clear, should this go though, it won’t be a free-for-all. Travelers who enter Canada will still need to test negative before arrival and may still need to quarantine, albeit for a shorter period of time.
“We’re not going to get ahead of ourselves,” Trudeau said. “We are looking at how we’re going to start welcoming up tourists in a phased way as the numbers come down in Canada, as the numbers start to come down in the United States and elsewhere around the world.”
Trudeau said that the Canadian government would come up with some sort of vaccination certificates, saying they were a part of international travel before Covid-19 and are “naturally to be expected when it comes to this pandemic and the coronavirus.”
Trudeau has said for weeks that the border needed to stay closed until at least 75% of Canadians had had at least their first shot. As of June 4th they were up to 57%, with a 6% increase in just the past week. At that rate, they could reach their goal in just a couple of weeks.
As for our side of the border, there’s no official word from U.S. officials on when they think they may begin to allow non-essential travel from Canada. White House press secretary Jen Psaki provided no new details when asked on June 8th about the possibility of reopening the border.
“We would make a decision about the Canada border based on the guidance of our health and medical experts, and I’m sure that when that decision is made, we would communicate through diplomatic channels, but I don’t have anything to predict about the timeline,” Psaki said.
That being said, according to Reuters, the Biden Administration is forming expert working groups with Canada, as well as Mexico, the European Union and the United Kingdom to determine how best to restart travel safely. However, international travel will not become an “overnight” thing.
“While we are not reopening travel today, we hope that these expert working groups will help us use our collective expertise to chart a path forward, with a goal of reopening international travel with our key partners when it is determined that it is safe to do so,” a White House official was quoted by Reuters, adding that “any decisions will be fully guided by the objective analysis and recommendations by public health and medical experts.”
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