Canada to ease restrictions for vaccinated travelers

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Canada prepares to ease quarantine rules for vaccinated travelers: Bloomberg

Travelers entering Canada would still be tested for the virus and may be required to quarantine for a shorter period.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, however, has yet to outline a timeline for reopening, other than to say it will depend on cases and vaccination levels.

Anyone coming to Canada would need to be fully vaccinated before arriving, Trudeau said during an afternoon event, because the country can't risk another wave of COVID-19. "It would help facilitate a safe and gradual return to a more normal life". The business groups say the changes should take effect on June 22, the day after the renewal deadline for a pact that restricts travel between the two countries.

"We're not going to get ahead of ourselves", he added a moment later. "Tell us what the road map and the plan and the metrics are".

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Trudeau adds that when borders do start to reopen, Canada will likely be an attractive destination for tourists given our high vaccination rate.

"In our view, the vaccination campaigns in both countries have progressed to the point where it is time to revisit" the restrictions, said the group, which includes both the Canadian and USA chambers of commerce, the Business Council of Canada and the US -based National Retail Federation. While 53 per cent of respondents remain somewhat uncomfortable with easing restrictions on, that's down from closer to 80 per cent earlier in the pandemic.

Tourism Saskatchewan echoed Harrison's statement, saying the lack of cross-border travel is hurting Saskatchewan outfitters. "I don't think we'll be able to do many more months like this", Christiane Germain, co-president of the Quebec-based Germain Hotels chain, said in an interview on BNN Bloomberg Television.

President Joe Biden's administration has also faced increasing demands to reopen the border, from rank-and-file lawmakers like New York Democrat Rep. Brian Higgins and Republican counterpart Rep. Chris Jacobs, as well as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. "That's why we continue to encourage people to get double vaccinated to make sure we can end with this as quickly as possible".

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US and Canadian government officials began discussions to loosen restrictions on the world's longest undefended border earlier this year.

The two nations banned non-essential travel across the frontier in March a year ago and have extended the limitation every month since then.

Although the measures exclude trade, the tourism sector and airlines complain they are suffering financially. One estimate says the measures cost those industries about $20 billion (US$16.5 billion) in revenue previous year.

Canadian and USA business leaders also banded together Tuesday, issuing a fresh appeal to the federal government to start putting plans in place.

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