Unlocking the World

Traveling to Canada during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go

CNN StaffUpdated 14th January 2021
If you're into winter sports, Canada has plenty of options.
Editor's Note — Coronavirus cases remain high across the globe. Health officials caution that travel increases your chances of getting and spreading the virus. Staying home is the best way to stem transmission. Below is information on what to know if you still plan to travel, last updated on January 14.
(CNN) — If you're planning a trip to Canada, here's what you'll need to know and expect if you want to visit during the global coronavirus pandemic.

The basics

Canada may have fared better than its neighbor to the south, but Covid cases in the country continue to rise. There are strict rules on entry for all, including Canadian citizens and their relatives. All arrivals must quarantine for 14 days.
Starting January 7, anyone over the age of five flying into Canada will be required to provide written or electronic documentation showing they received a negative result from a COVID-19 test conducted within 72 hours prior to their scheduled boarding.

What's on offer

This is the ultimate destination for adventure. Whether it's skiing and snowboarding in the Rockies or bear watching in the wilds of Ontario, Canada has everything to satisfy travelers who want to spend time in the great outdoors.
Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal are all perfect for city breaks, with first rate culture, food and entertainment on offer.

Who can go

Citizens and permanent residents are allowed to enter Canada, but must quarantine for 14 days. Immediate and extended family members, including those without Canadian citizenship, can enter for any reason as long as they are staying in the country for more than 15 days (they too must quarantine). Those coming for fewer than 15 days can only enter for an essential purpose.
All extended family members (but not immediate family) must also have written permission from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). For more information, see here. Only essential travel and transiting passengers are otherwise allowed.
Canada's ban on flights from the UK ended on January 8.

What are the restrictions?

As of November 21, all permitted arrivals must use the ArriveCAN app or website to submit travel and contact information, a 14-day quarantine plan and a Covid-19 symptom self-assessment. The quarantine plan must detail where you will stay, how you will get there and how you will arrange for delivery of essentials such as groceries and medicine. Failure to stick to the plan can lead to six months' jail time and a CAN$750,000 (US$593,000) fine.
Additionally, all arrivals are given a health screening by a border officer to assess any symptoms.

What's the Covid situation?

Canada dealt well with the initial wave of Covid-19. However, it is currently in the grip of a deadly second wave, which experts believe is in part due to indoor mixing around Canadian Thanksgiving in October. Daily cases are up to 10 times higher than in late summer according to Canada's public health agency.
Ontario, Canada's most populous province, has issued a stay-at-home order, as officials warn there is a "real and looming threat of the collapse of the province's hospital system" if case numbers do not come down.
The new order is set to take effect January 14 and will apply to the whole province, including Toronto and Ottawa.
Quebec is under a full lockdown and on January 9 became the first province to enact a curfew, with residents needing to be in their homes from 8 p.m. until 5 a.m.
Prince Edward Island, Canada's smallest province, has adopted some of the country's strictest Covid-19 prevention measures, with non-residents needing to apply for approval to visit in advance.

What can visitors expect?

Mask mandates vary between provinces. Alberta brought in new measures in early December, enforcing face coverings and banning all social gatherings. The same is also true in British Columbia, where authorities are hoping to prevent large gatherings over the holidays with a ban on meeting more than one person, both indoors and outdoors.
In Alberta, indoor dining is banned, while in Toronto, bars and restaurants are limited to take out service only. All non-essential businesses are closed in Quebec,
Most Canadian provinces continue to advise people to maintain a two-meter distance to cut the spread of the virus.

Useful links

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