for the first time in more than two years, unvaccinated Americans will be able to visit Canada without going into quarantine — and it will also be a lot easier for vaccinated travelers to cross the border.
Canada will drop the Covid-19 vaccine requirement for visitors by September 30, government officials have announced. told Globe and Mail and other Canadian newscasts. On the same day, the country is also reportedly going to end random Covid arrival tests and make the ArriveCan app optional. But according to the sources, the obligation to wear masks on domestic flights and train journeys remains.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who has not yet formally signed the change, is under political pressure to relax border rules. The opposing party’s new leader, Pierre Poilivere, has campaigned to scrap both the ArriveCan app and the remaining vaccination mandates.
The US-Canada border was closed in March 2020 as the Covid-19 pandemic began. Canada reopened its border in August 2021 and the US reopened in November 2021, but the two countries have imposed different restrictions and levels of enforcement.
Both Canada and the United States currently require foreign visitors to be vaccinated. To enter Canada, unvaccinated travelers must undergo a mandatory Covid test on arrival and are subject to a 14-day quarantine. Currently, vaccinated foreign travelers entering Canada are required to upload Covid-19 documentation through the ArriveCan app.
This week, a coalition of more than three dozen Canadian and U.S. officials in border communities sent an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Joe Biden asking to “return the Canada-U.S. border to a normal pre-pandemic state” , noting that some restrictions lifted on air travel still exist for land crossings, hurting communities that rely on daily border crossings.
On this side of the border, there is also pressure from some business leaders and government officials to move forward with Covid. Last Sunday, President Biden told Scott Pelley during ’60 Minutes’ that the pandemic is over, even though hundreds of Americans are dying from the disease every day.
During the pandemic, airline CEOs in the US often worried about Covid-19 restrictions, arguing that they harm business. Most notably, the US transport mask mandate was a point of contention between the government and airlines, until a judge knocked it down in April.
In July, Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastien noted during the company’s second-quarter earnings call that he expected international business travel to increase in the second half of the year, thanks to the removal of the Covid pre-departure testing requirement for flights returning to the United States.
It’s not clear whether the United States would follow Canada’s lead and drop its own vaccination requirement for foreign visitors.