Almost one-and-a-half years since it first closed in March 2020, the Canadian government announced Monday that it's finally opening the US-Canadian border, but only for those fully vaccinated against coronavirus. "When the clock struck midnight on Monday, Canada reopened its borders to U.S. citizens after more than a year of only allowing essential travel," Detroit Free Press observed.
The government is citing it as a big step toward 'normalcy' on the border. "Canadians' safety and security always come first. With rising vaccination rates and fewer cases in Canada, we can begin to safely ease border measures," Canada's minister of health Patty Hajdu said in a statement.
"A gradual approach to reopening will allow our health authorities to monitor the COVID-19 situation here and abroad. Canadians have worked hard and sacrificed for each other, and because of that work, we can take these next steps safely," she added.
It's expected that there will be long wait times to cross the border, however. A statement and bit of a 'warning' by the Canada Border Services Agency said "The CBSA will not compromise the health and safety of Canadians for the sake of border wait times."
The Canadian government has set up the ArriveCAN app to track travelers' vaccination status. Vaccine confirmation must be submitted via the app within 72 hours before arrival. It's also being advised that travelers carry their physical vaccine documentation, ready to show border officials when asked.
All must also submit to a COVID-19 test. Only those showing symptoms or a positive test will have to quarantine. "Fully vaccinated travellers who meet the requirements will be exempt from quarantine; however, all travellers must still provide a quarantine plan and be prepared to quarantine, in case it is determined at the border that they do not meet the necessary requirements," a new government directive indicated.
When the clock struck midnight on Monday, Canada reopened its borders to U.S. citizens after more than a year of only allowing essential travel. https://t.co/3IVlfYeG8I— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) August 9, 2021
USA Today notes that US carriers have added flights to Canada amid the easing of border restrictions and the steady rise in demand. The following nine Canadian airports have been authorized to receive international flights effective Monday:
- Montréal-Trudeau International Airport
- Toronto Pearson International Airport
- Calgary International Airport
- Vancouver International Airport
- Halifax Stanfield International Airport
- Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport
- Ottawa Macdonald–Cartier International Airport
- Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport
- Edmonton International Airport
The government is also warning against efforts to present fraudulent documents, as was recently the case with an American couple, fined $25,000 each for attempting to falsify their vaccination status, apparently a rising trend globally.
Despite the Canadians now opening the border to inbound Americans, the US government has yet to open it up the other way, still refusing Canadian tourist travel into the states via land borders.