The Canada and U.S. land border will stay closed to all non-essential traffic until at least December 21st.
The decision to extend the land border restrictions came as no surprise as the United States continues to grapple with record COVID-19 cases and deaths.
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair’s office told CTVNews that the decision to extend the closure an additional 30 days “will be made in Canada, with the best interest of Canadians as our top priority.”
All non-essential travel going both ways across the border including shopping, tourism and day trips are prohibited.
Cases of COVID-19 in the United States are rising to unprecedented levels with record daily cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
As the U.S. approaches 250,000 deaths due to COVID-19, Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau has stood firm on the closure stating that the border will not reopen for non-essential travel until there is clear evidence its American neighbour to the south has the pandemic under control.
“The U.S. is not in a place where we would feel comfortable reopening those borders. We will continue to make sure that Canadian safety is top of mind when we move forward,” Justin Trudeau said in an interview with Smart Start back in October.
The border was first closed in March, and there have extensions every month since. The last extension was set to expire on November 21st is planned to be extended.
Although Canadians can freely travel to the U.S. by air, Americans are still banned from entering Canada with the exception of funerals and married couples and families to reunite.
While the Canadian government has reopened its borders for select international travelers, the country remains one of the last in the western hemisphere to stay closed for all tourism.
As of October 20th, Canada expanded to allow partners who have been dating for at least one year and international students to enter the country.
All approved travelers still need to follow Canada's strict quarantine measures which requires all incoming passengers to self-isolate for a minimum of 14 days.
At the Coutts Alberta land crossing and Calgary International airport, a new pilot program is underway to reduce the duration of self isolation to two days. Visitors who wish to take part in the pilot program must take a COVID-19 test and wait for results before being released.
Canada has increased its enforcement of quarantine measures which already have very strict penalties in place if a traveler is caught violating self-quarantine.
Fines can be issued up to $750,000 and even jail time for those that refuse to follow quarantine orders.
Starting on November 21, all arrivals, regardless if they are Canadian citizens or approved foreign nationals, must fill out the ArriveCan App before entry.
The app asks specific questions about symptoms and the health of the passenger, what their specific quarantine plan is for the full 14-days, and personal contact information for potential checks.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories