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Canada to let in vaccinated U.S. citizens; U.S. restrictions on Canadians under review

Cars line up at a structure with the sign "Tunnel to Canada"
Vehicles enter the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel in Detroit to travel to Canada on March 16, 2020.
(Paul Sancya / Associated Press)

Canada announced Monday that it would begin letting fully vaccinated U.S. citizens into Canada on Aug. 9, and those from the rest of the world on Sept. 7.

Officials said the 14-day quarantine requirement would be waived as of Aug. 9 for eligible travelers who were currently residing in the United States and had received a full course of a COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in Canada.

Canadian Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, who said he spoke with U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas on Friday, said the U.S. had not yet indicated any plan to change current restrictions at the land border. Canadians are able to fly into the United States with a negative COVID-19 test.

Asked in Washington whether the U.S. would reciprocate, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, “We are continuing to review our travel restrictions. Any decisions about resuming travel will be guided by our public health and medical experts.... I wouldn’t look at it through a reciprocal intention.”

Canadian officials also announced that children who weren’t vaccinated but were traveling with vaccinated parents wouldn’t have to quarantine but would have to avoid group activities.

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Canadian Transport Minister Omar Alghabra also said a ban on direct flights from India would be extended to Aug. 21 because of the Delta variant. “The situation in India is still very serious,” he said.

Point Roberts, Wash., long prospered as an appendage of Canada. But pandemic restrictions cut it off from civilization.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said last week that Canada could start allowing fully vaccinated Americans into the country as of mid-August for nonessential travel and should be in a position to welcome fully vaccinated travelers from all countries by early September.

Canada leads Group of 20 member countries in vaccination rates, with about 80% of eligible Canadians vaccinated with their first dose and more than 50% of those eligible fully vaccinated.

In the early days of the pandemic, the U.S. and Canadian governments closed the more than 5,500-mile border to nonessential traffic. With increasing vaccination rates and dropping infection rates, some were annoyed the two governments hadn’t laid out plans to fully reopen the border.

Canada began easing its restrictions this month, allowing fully vaccinated citizens or permanent legal residents to return to the country without quarantining. But among the requirements are a negative test for the virus before returning and another once they get back.

Pressure has been mounting on Canada to continue to ease the restrictions at the border, which have been in effect since March 2020. Providing exemptions for travel into Canada amid the pandemic is politically sensitive, and Trudeau is expected to call a federal election next month.

Canadian officials have said they would like 75% of eligible Canadian residents to be fully vaccinated before loosening border restrictions for tourists and business travelers. The Canadian government expects to have enough vaccine delivered for 80% of eligible Canadians to be fully vaccinated by the end of July. The U.S. only allowed for exports of vaccines into Canada in early May.

Commercial traffic has gone back and forth normally between the two countries since the start of the pandemic.

The U.S. Travel Assn. estimates that each month the border is closed costs $1.5 billion. Canadian officials say the country had about 22 million foreign visitors in 2019 — about 15 million of them from the United States.


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