Since the start of the pandemic in March, the travel and tourism industry have ground to a halt as many countries gradually closed their borders in efforts to slow down the spread of COVID-19.
For the week of June 29, just shy of Canada Day, there has been a lot of updates regarding what travelling will look like during the pandemic.
Here is a summary of the latest travel updates for Canadians:
Government Extends Quarantine Act to August 31 – Initially Set to Expire June 30, 2020
Earlier this week the federal government announced it had plans to extend the quarantine rules, which required travellers returning to Canada to self-isolate for a minimum of 14 days upon arrival at Canadian airports.
On Monday, while the extension to the order has not been officially finalized, it seems the federal government shares the same sentiment towards extending the Quarantine Act.
“The government intends to continue the 14-day mandatory self-isolation under the federal Quarantine Act,” said a senior government official.
As of Tuesday June 30, 2020, the mandatory self-isolation order has been officially extended to August 31.
The strict mandatory quarantine measures for Canadians returning home were first introduced on March 25, with the agreement that it would expire by June 30, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.
Through the measures, any returning Canadians were told to self-isolate for a minimum of 14 days and were forbidden to make many stops along the way home from the airport.
They were also required to report any developments of COVID-19 symptoms to public health officials during the two weeks.
A month later in April, the guidelines and rules for quarantine were strengthened even further, requiring Canadians returning home who did not have a credible plan to self-isolate to stay at a quarantine facility.
At the time Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gave an example scenario where the government would intervene and required the traveller to stay at a quarantine facility as follows:
“Examples of things that could be inadequate, for example — if they plan to go stay in a place where there are many elderly family members at risk of COVID-19, or [if] they don’t have a set destination, if they’ve been outside the country for many years,”
“We now have the authority to require them to self-isolate for two weeks in a quarantine location, like a hotel,” said the Prime Minister.
It is also worth mentioning the maximum penalties for not complying with the quarantine rules include a fine of up to $750,000 and/or imprisonment for six months.
Canadians Allowed to Travel to The European Union Countries
On Tuesday afternoon, the European Union announced that it will be reopening its borders to travellers of 14 countries which included Canada.
With Europe’s economy heavily impacted by COVID-19 due to travel bans and damaged tourism industries, the news of reopening its borders is a joy to many travellers and tourists.
Last year it was estimated that 15 million Americans travelled to Europe, with as many as 10 million Europeans travelling across the Atlantic.
However, since the start of the pandemic, many have been wary of travelling given the unpredictability of the pandemic.
Through reopening its borders countries in the EU such as Greece, Italy, and Spain hope to bring back some life into its tourism industry.
Canada will be joining countries such as Australia, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, and Thailand in the exclusive list of countries permitted to travel to the EU.
The list of countries considered safe for travel by the EU will be reviewed every 14 days as new countries may be added or dropped depending on how they can control the virus.
It was also announced that the EU expects that countries in the list are to lift any measures or bans in place that affect European travellers as the reopened borders are subject to “confirmation of reciprocity”.
Canada COVID-19 Statistics
Confirmed Cases: 104,145 (+227)
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