fFor the first time in more than two years, unvaccinated Americans will be able to visit Canada without quarantine — and it will also be much easier for vaccinated travelers to cross the border.
Canada will drop its Covid-19 vaccine requirements for visitors through September 30, government officials have said globe and mail and other Canadian news agencies. On the same day, the country will also reportedly end random Covid arrival tests and make the ArriveCan app optional. However, the obligation to wear masks on domestic flights and train travel remains in place, according to the sources.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who has yet to formally sign the amendment, is facing political pressure to relax border rules. The new leader of the opposing Conservative Party, Pierre Poilivere, has advocated abandoning 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 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 take a mandatory Covid test upon 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 that “the Canada-U.S. border be restored to a normal state before the bringing back the pandemic”. Some restrictions that were lifted on air travel still apply to land crossings, hurting communities that rely on daily border crossings.
There is also a push by some business leaders and government officials to move away from Covid on this side of the border. Last Sunday, President Biden told Scott Pelley in “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 balked at Covid-19 restrictions, arguing they were hurting business. Most notably, the US transportation mask mandate was a bone of contention between the government and airlines until a Richter struck it down in April.
In July, Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastien commented on the company’s second-quarter earnings call that he expects international business travel to increase in the second half of the year thanks to the removal of the pre-departure Covid testing requirement for flights that return to the United States.
It’s not clear whether the United States would follow Canada’s example and drop its own vaccination requirements for foreign visitors.