Canada to open border for vaccinated Americans starting Aug. 9
Fully vaccinated Americans and permanent residents will be allowed to enter Canada for non-essential travel beginning Aug. 9, Canadian government ministers announced Monday.
The announcement marked the first step toward opening the country’s border for all international tourists.
Non-essential travel to Canada has been banned since March 2020, and Canada’s public safety minister announced last month that the travel restrictions across the U.S.-Canadian border would be extended until July 21.
“As a first step, starting August 9, 2021, Canada plans to begin allowing entry to American citizens and permanent residents, who are currently residing in the United States, and have been fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to entering Canada for non-essential travel,” the Canadian government wrote in a statement on Monday.
There are no changes to the mandatory testing requirements for unvaccinated travelers.
Adults entering the country will need to present proof (in either English or French) that they’ve received a complete round of one of the vaccines approved for use in Canada. The government will only recognize vaccines manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.
Canadian officials said they are being cautious about the vaccines they allow, which is why they will not recognize vaccines made by China or Russia, even though the World Health Organization has authorized them.
American tourists will still need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test prior to arrival, but they will be exempt from the 14-day quarantine and two post-arrival coronavirus tests.
In a major change, children under the age of 12 who are not yet eligible for vaccination, or a dependent child of any age who can’t be vaccinated, will be exempt from the 14-day quarantine requirement as long as they travel with a parent or guardian and meet all public health requirements.
They will also need to avoid large group settings like camps and daycare, especially those indoors.
The Canadian government said it plans on opening the nation’s borders to fully vaccinated travelers from all countries on Sept. 7, if conditions remain favorable.
“Canadians have worked hard and sacrificed for each other, and because of that work, we can take these next steps safely,” Health Minister Patty Hajdu said in a statement.
But on the U.S. side, Biden administration officials do not have any immediate plans to reciprocate, and the border will remain closed to Canadian tourists, regardless of vaccination status.
“Any decisions about reopening travel will be guided by our public health and medical experts. We take this incredibly seriously, but we look and are guided by our own medical experts,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday.
After an extremely slow initial rollout, Canada’s vaccination rate has climbed steadily and the country has surpassed the United States with 49.6 percent of the total population vaccinated. The U.S. stands at 48.6 percent, and the vaccination rate has stalled nationwide.
–Updated at 2:45 p.m.
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