Canada eases restrictions for fully vaccinated travelers | News, Sports, Jobs

A sign points the way to the Canadian border crossing near the Rouses Point United States Border Inspection Station. (Provided photo — Ben Rowe, Press-Republican)

PLATTSBURGH — Canada further relaxed travel restrictions Monday, dropping requirements that visitors fully vaccinated against COVID-19 have a quarantine plan and children ages 5 to 11 complete pre-entry tests.

All travelers to the country must still use ArriveCAN — via the mobile app or website — to provide contact, travel and vaccination information within 72 hours of arrival to Canada and/or before boarding a plane or cruise ship headed for Canada, according to the government’s website.

“These actions represent another welcome step towards normalcy,” North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas said in a statement.

“And we continue to welcome the increasing numbers of Canadian visitors while also enjoying visits north once again. We will maintain active communications in both Ottawa and Washington as we move towards summer.”

Mask during journey

The new rules dropped the requirement that unvaccinated or partially vaccinated children ages 5 to 11 get tested for COVID-19 before entering Canada as long as they are accompanied by a fully vaccinated parent, step-parent, guardian or tutor, according to an entry on the Government of Canada website. These children also do not need a quarantine plan.

Fully vaccinated travelers will no longer be required by the Canadian federal government to do the following for 14 days after arrival: mask while in public spaces, monitor and report if they develop signs or symptoms, quarantine if another traveler in the same travel group exhibits signs or symptoms or tests positive, and maintain a list of close contacts and locations visited.

However, all travelers regardless of vaccination status must continue masking throughout their entire travel journeys onboard a flight or ship.

“Unless otherwise exempt, all travelers eligible to enter Canada who do not qualify as fully vaccinated will continue to be tested with COVID-19 molecular tests on arrival and on day 8, while they quarantine for 14 days,” Canada’s website says. “This includes unvaccinated and partially vaccinated travelers.”

Jones responds

State Assemblyman D. Billy Jones (D-Chateaugay Lake), who co-chairs the Council of State Governments’ Eastern Regional Conference’s (CSG East) Canada-US Relations Committee, welcomed the eased restrictions, but said more needed to be done.

“For months I have advocated for the requirements to be the same on both sides of the border, and removing the quarantine plan and allowing unvaccinated children ages 5 to 11 who are accompanied by a vaccination adult is a step in the right direction so that more North Country residents can visit our northern neighbors once again,” he said in a statement.

“While this is welcomed news, I will continue to push for both sides to continue to lift border restrictions.”

The US Department of Homeland Security recently extended requirements that non-US travelers via land ports of entry and ferry terminals at the northern and southern borders be fully vaccinated and provide proof upon request, whether they are traveling for essential or non-essential reasons.

COVID testing is not required, according to a DHS press release.

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