See also: Covid-19 Updates
It’s official, the Federal Government announced new restrictions for incoming travellers that will come into effect on February 22, 2021. This announcement was made back on January 29, 2021, but with no start date till now. Some rules kick in on February 15, 2021 though.
Land Border Crossing
Not to be lost in the shuffle, as of Monday, February 15, 2021, land border travellers arriving in Canada will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of arrival.
Starting on February 22, 2021, the same land border travellers entering Canada will also be required to take a COVID-19 molecular test on arrival as well as toward the end of their 14-day quarantine period (to be discussed below).
For the moment, it does not seem like the border agent will turn people away at the border, but fines can be imposed of up to $3,000 per person for non-compliance.
72-Hour Hotel Quarantine
In additional to proving that they have a negative Covid-19 test result before boarding a plane, incoming air travellers will also need to quarantine immediately in a government approved hotel upon arrival. This will be up to a 72-hour stay at the passenger’s own expense while they wait for the test results.
The government-approved list of hotels will be available as of Thursday, February 18, 2021.
Currently, there are only 4 Canadian airports with international flights. They are:
- Toronto Pearson International Airport [YYZ]
- Vancouver International Airport [YVR]
- Montréal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport [YUL]
- Calgary International Airport [YYC]
As a result, the cost of the hotel stay will depend on which city the person is flying into. Furthermore, once the negative Covid test result is in, then the person can continue with a connecting flight to a final destination within Canada. If this applies to you, be sure to plan accordingly.
The $2,000 bill has tossed around for the 72-hour stay (or $667 per day). How can it be that expensive? So far, it seems like the costs associated with this stay include:
- Cost of the Covid test
- Hotel room
- Hotel security
- Infection prevention and control measures
Keep in mind that after the once the 3 days are up, even with a negative test result, the 14-day quarantine requirement still continues.
After the 72-hour hotel stay, the mandatory 14-day quarantine period for returning non-essential travellers still applies.
It looks like the Public Health Agency of Canada are looking to hire private security firms to help enforce the 14-day mandatory quarantine and conduct in-person compliance visits.
For now vaccinated Canadians will not be exempt from the rules mentioned above. There does not seem to be an indication that it will change any time soon yet.
There will be other exceptions to these new restrictions, such as for essential workers (e.g. emergency service providers, health-care workers, truckers) who are travelling into Canada by air or land.
It make sense that these essential workers not have to do a 14-day quarantine period every time they cross the border, but perhaps, now would be a good time to at least have the rapid testing in place for these exceptions in some capacity? Even if it was every second or third day?
I’m curious how much the rules and fines are going to be enforced. After-all, a rule is only really a rule if it is going to be enforceable. Otherwise, why bother with it at all?
For the moment, there is still time for Canadians to return home and not have to face such strict measures. Whether you agree with the rules or not, please remember to be safe during your travels!
What are your thoughts about such measures? Please let us know in the comment section below!