Canada has extended its Covid-19 restrictions on non-essential international and US travel until July 21.
Bill Blair, Canada’s minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, announced the decision Friday on Twitter.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledged that the extension of the travel restrictions may be “frustrating” for many people when he addressed the media after the announcement. He said the pandemic is not over and his goal is to keep Canadians safe. Trudeau himself is quarantining after foreign travel for the G7 summit.
“I get it, it is frustrating for a whole bunch of people who just want to get back to normal,” Trudeau said Friday. “I get people’s impatience, both in the tourism industry and individual Canadians who want to travel, but from the very beginning we as a government have been there for Canadians. And that means doing what’s necessary to keep them safe.”
He added: “We’re not out of this pandemic yet. We have to hit our targets of 75% vaccinated with the first dose, at least 20% vaccinated with the second dose before we can start loosening things up because even a fully vaccinated individual can pass on Covid-19 to someone who is not vaccinated.”
Blair said the government will soon announce how it plans to handle travel among those who are fully vaccinated, an approach Trudeau said will be “phased.”
“We’re going to be easing restrictions around fully vaccinated travelers, but it matters, also, the level of protection and vaccination in the community to which they return,” Trudeau said. “We’re looking at a phased approach to easing border restrictions, not because someone who’s fully vaccinated today will be safer three months from now, but because the community they’re in, the community they’re returning to will be better protected three months from now than they are today.”
The US and Canada mutually agreed to shut down the border in March 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic was just beginning.
Canada is largely off-limits to US travelers. Tourism, leisure and casual visits are all forbidden. Some exceptions exist for family members, foreign workers and international students.
Stringent testing and quarantine measures are in place for travelers arriving by air and land.
Those arriving by air are required to quarantine for three nights in a government-authorized hotel in addition to the rest of the testing and quarantine requirements.
Travel advisories for Canada can be found on the Government of Canada website.
CNN’s Marnie Hunter contributed to this report.