Fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents will soon be able to return to Canada without a mandatory quarantine.
The first stage in loosening the border restrictions that have been in place for 15 months will begin at 11:59 p.m. eastern time on July 5.
It will apply only to people already eligible to travel to Canada, including citizens, permanent residents, and people registered under the Indian Act.
Those travellers must have two doses of a vaccine approved by Health Canada, provide a negative COVID-19 test from 72 hours before arrival, take a second test upon arrival, and have a quarantine plan in the event the arrival test comes back positive.
All others will still have to stay in hotel quarantine for up to three days pending a negative arrival test and then quarantine at home for the remainder of the 14-day period.
For Canadian Liz Rankin who lives with her husband and daughter in Sedro-Woolley, Washington, it’s welcome news. Rankin hasn’t seen her family, including her father and sisters, on Vancouver Island for two years.
As a teacher, Rankin has been fully vaccinated for several weeks, so hearing she might soon be able to take a weekend trip to see her family is a bit emotional.
“I’ll probably head straight to Parksville and hug my dad,” she said. “It’s really encouraging I hope a lot more people can see their family.”
But her 8-year-old daughter Olive won’t be able to join her. Children who aren’t vaccinated will be able to return home with their parents but must quarantine there for two weeks and take a second test eight days after arriving.
Her husband CJ, who is American, also wouldn’t currently be able to come.
Despite the loosening restrictions, Canadians are still urged to avoid all non-essential travel.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 21, 2021