Making gains at the border

Border traffic at the Rainbow Bridge remains closed to casual travel between the US and Canada.

Fully vaccinated Americans will be able to cross the border into Canada for non-essential travel beginning Aug. 9.

Officials said the 14-day quarantine requirement will be waived as of Aug. 9 for eligible travelers who are currently residing in the United States and have received a full course of a COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in Canada.

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, who said he spoke with U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Friday, said the U.S. has not yet indicated any plan to change current restrictions at the land border. Canadians are able to fly into the United States with a negative COVID-19 test.

Asked in Washington if the U.S. would reciprocate, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said, "We are continuing to review our travel restrictions. Any decisions about resuming travel will be guided by our public health and medical experts. ... I wouldn’t look at it through a reciprocal intention.”

Canadian officials also announced that children who aren't vaccinated but are travelling with vaccinated parents won't have to quarantine, but will have to avoid group activities.

Entry to Canada will continue to be prohibited for U.S. travelers who are not fully vaccinated and for all other foreign nationals, unless they already meet an exemption set out in the orders made under the Quarantine Act. Canadian officials announced Monday.

To be eligible to enter Canada, fully vaccinated American citizens and permanent residents must have received the full series of a vaccine - or combination of vaccines - accepted by the Government of Canada at least 14 days prior to entering Canada. Currently, those vaccines are manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD, and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson).

Officials say travelers must use ArriveCAN to submit travel information, and if they are eligible to enter, travelers will not be required to quarantine.

The Canadian government says they will require a pre-entry COVID-19 test result regardless of vaccination status.

Here’s more information from the Canadian government:

What changes on August 9

Entry to Canada

• Allow discretionary (non-essential) travel for fully vaccinated American citizens and permanent residents, currently residing in the U.S., who meet all required criteria. This includes the need to submit information electronically through ArriveCAN.

• Allow entry of unvaccinated children under 12 years of age, or unvaccinated dependent children (due to a mental or physical condition), who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents currently residing in the U.S. and who are accompanying a fully vaccinated parent, step-parent, guardian or tutor who either has a right to enter Canada (e.g. Canadian citizens and permanent residents), is a U.S. citizen and permanent resident currently residing in the U.S, or is otherwise is permitted entry under the US Prohibition on Entry Order made under the Quarantine Act. They must meet all other required criteria, including submitting information electronically through ArriveCAN and all testing requirements.

• Travelers who do not meet all the required eligibility requirements for discretionary (non-essential) travel will be denied entry into Canada, precluded from boarding their flight, and/or could face additional fines on arrival. It is therefore important that all travelers find out about whether they are eligible to enter Canada well in advance of their travel, and understand applicable requirements.

Testing Requirements

• Allow Canadian citizens and permanent residents travellng to the U.S. for less than 72 hours to do their pre-entry test in Canada.

• Allow individuals who have recovered from COVID-19, but continue to test positive, to present a positive COVID-19 molecular test result on a specimen taken 14 to 180 days prior to arrival in Canada as part of the pre-arrival test requirements.

• Adjust post-arrival testing for fully vaccinated travelers. Using a new border testing surveillance program at airports and land border crossings, fully vaccinated travellers will not need a post-arrival test unless they have been randomly selected to complete a Day 1 COVID-19 molecular test. This shift responds to the pandemic's evolution and will monitor prevalence in travelers. It will also identify new variants of concern entering Canada and provide intelligence, including vaccine effectiveness.

• There are no changes to the mandatory testing requirements for unvaccinated travelers.

Temperature screening requirements

• Due to the improving epidemiological situation in Canada, effective August 9, 2021, Transport Canada will remove the requirement for the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) to perform pre-board temperature screening of passengers on all domestic flights and international departures (including Transborder), as well as airport workers.

• These changes will make the travel process more streamlined, ensuring that passengers spend less time in airports, while still maintaining necessary public health measures (e.g., wearing of masks at airports and on board all flights to, from and within Canada).

Quarantine Requirements

• Eliminate the three-night government-authorized hotel stay requirement for all travelers arriving by air as of 12:01 a.m. EDT on August 9.

• Continue to require unvaccinated travelers to undergo Day 1 and Day 8 COVID-19 molecular tests, and complete a mandatory 14 day quarantine, subject to limited exceptions.

• Unvaccinated children under 12 years of age and dependent children (due to a mental or physical condition) of fully vaccinated travelers will no longer have to complete a 14 day quarantine, but must follow strict public health measures. This includes those traveling from the U.S for discretionary purposes. This means they can move around with their parents, but must avoid group settings - such as camps or daycares - during the first 14 days after their arrival. Unvaccinated children will remain subject to the Day 1 and Day 8 testing requirements. Provinces and territories may have more stringent rules around people who have recently returned from travel. More details will be available in the coming days.

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