OTTAWA — The federal government’s new hotel quarantine measures will go into effect Feb. 22, 2021.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement at his COVID-19 briefing this morning.
“We have already established some of the strictest travel measures in the world,” said Trudeau. “We’re stepping them up even further.”
Trudeau added: “People simply should not travel. We won’t allow irresponsible decisions of the few to imperil everyone.”
At a follow up briefing today, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair and Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu filled in more details.
Hajdu said that hotel quarantine booking information will be available online starting Feb. 18. She said travellers will be responsible for reserving the hotel quarantine stay prior to their departure to Canada, for a stay of up to three nights at a designated hotel in one of the 4 cities (Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary or Montreal) currently receiving international flights. Proof of booking must be submitted via the ArriveCAN app.
With a negative test result, travellers can then take a connecting flight to their end destination.
“It’s up to the traveller to decide where to stay and to book it prior to departure,” said Hajdu.
Added Blair: “Stay home, respect the rules. Our shared priority must be to keep each other safe.”
Here are more details as per a statement from the federal government:
- For travellers arriving to Canada by land, as of February 15, 2021, all travellers, with some exceptions, will be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test result taken in the United States within 72 hours of pre-arrival, or a positive test taken 14 to 90 days prior to arrival. In addition, as of February 22, 2021, travellers entering Canada at the land border will be required to take a COVID-19 molecular test on arrival as well as toward the end of their 14-day quarantine.
- All travellers arriving to Canada by air, as of February 22, 2021, with some exceptions, will be required to take a COVID-19 molecular test when they arrive in Canada before exiting the airport, and another toward the end of their 14-day quarantine period. With limited exceptions, air travellers, will also be required to reserve, prior to departure to Canada, a 3-night stay in a government-authorized hotel. Travellers will be able to book their government-authorized stay starting February 18, 2021. These new measures are in addition to existing mandatory pre-boarding and health requirements for air travellers.
- At the same time on February 22, 2021, all travellers, whether arriving by land or air will be required to submit their travel and contact information, including a suitable quarantine plan, electronically via ArriveCAN before crossing the border or boarding a flight.
“IT’S NOT A PUNITIVE MEASURE”
For two weeks the travel industry has been waiting to hear the start date for the hotel quarantine rule, after Trudeau first made the announcement on Jan. 29 that all passengers arriving in Canada must quarantine at a supervised hotel until their test results come back negative, at their own expense, pegged at $2,000 per person.
“It’s not a punitive measure,” said Trudeau today, about the hotel quarantine. “As soon as they receive a negative result, even if that’s just 1 day, they can return home” to wait out the rest of their quarantine.
With a negative test result, typically available within 3 days, travellers wait out the rest of their 14-day quarantine at home, under increased surveillance. In the event of a positive test result, travellers must go to government facilities in an effort to determine if the strain is one of the new variants.
The new measures are on top of the advisory against non-essential travel and 14-day mandatory quarantine requirement, in place since March 2020, and proof of a negative PCR test result taken 3 days pre-boarding for flights home, effective since Jan. 7, 2021.
All four of Canada’s major airlines have also suspended all winter sun flights to Mexico and the Caribbean, through April 30, at the request of the federal government.
On Feb. 2, asked how long the strict travel measures will be in effect, Trudeau said: “We will keep the measures in place for as long as needed to keep Canadians safe.”
Trudeau also announced today that Canada will be receiving 4 million vaccine doses from Pfizer by the end of March, and for the months following, there will be another 10.8 million doses coming April – June. Canada has also purchased an additional 4 million vaccine doses from Moderna which will be arriving throughout the summer.