Canada’s government began lifting travel restrictions from countries including the US on Monday — the first tentative step toward a return to normalcy along the world’s longest land border between two countries.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced at a news conference in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, that fully vaccinated Canadian citizens and permanent residents are no longer required to quarantine for 14 days upon their return. Fully vaccinated air travelers also no longer have to spend their first three days in Canada at a government-approved hotel.
The US-Canada border has been shut to non-essential travel, including tourism, since March 2020 and will remain so until at least July 21. Last month, Canadian Public Safety Minister Bill Blair suggested that a full reopening would not take place until 75 percent of his country’s population is fully vaccinated.
However, Trudeau said Monday that he was “very hopeful that we’re going to see new steps on reopening announced in the coming weeks.“We’re going to make sure that we’re not seeing a resurgence of COVID-19 cases because nobody wants to go back to further restrictions, after having done so much and sacrificed so much to get to this point,” he added.
Currently, just 36 percent of Canadians (approximately 13.7 million people) are considered fully vaccinated, according to data compiled by CTV News. By contrast, 47.4 percent of Americans (157.3 million people) are considered fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).