The federal government will focus on “fully vaccinated” Canadians when the time comes to begin relaxing travel and other restrictions put in place to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday.
The Prime Minister’s comments came as the government faces continued questions over whether quarantine hotels for incoming travellers are working as intended and at what point the growing number of partially and fully vaccinated Canadians might be able to begin travelling and living more normally.
Prime Minister Trudeau said: “I understand how eager people are to put the pandemic behind us and be able to travel once again.… We see the number of cases dropping, we see the situation improving tremendously,”
“We’ll have more announcements to make on measures that may be eased for those who’ve had both doses in the weeks to come…. Easing of restrictions will be focused on Canadians who are fully vaccinated.”
Countries around the world shut down their borders last year as the novel coronavirus spread.
The Canadian government barred non-essential foreign nationals and warned Canadians against non-essential travel outside the country in March 2020. Officials later adjusted the rules to require negative COVID-19 PCR tests before and after arrival, a period of mandatory quarantine and fines for ignoring it, and limits on which airports could accept incoming international arrivals.
The Tourism Industry Association of Canada on Wednesday called on the federal government to open the Canada-U.S. border before the summer tourism season is lost.
“With vaccinations rising and case numbers going down, we must now pivot to more forward-thinking policies, and talk about safely reopening the border, ending the extreme financial crash that has flattened the tourism industry and devastated the tourism economy in Canada,” Beth Potter, president and CEO of the industry group, said in a statement.
“As Canada and the U.S. return to normal, we must prepare to open the border quickly and safely, and restart our tourism economy.”
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