Waiting for word on mandatory quarantines in COVID designated hotels
(clockwise from top left): Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Dominic LeBlanc; Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam; and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Bill Blair, Jan. 22, 2021

Waiting for word on mandatory quarantines in COVID designated hotels

TORONTO — Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, confirmed on Friday that the federal government is looking at more measures to discourage travel amid the pandemic, following up on the COVID-19 briefing earlier that morning where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau didn’t rule out the possibility of mandatory hotel quarantines for returning passengers.

On Friday morning Trudeau said: “We will perhaps be implementing new measures without any warning and they will make it much more difficult for Canadians to come home.”

He added: “We will have more to say on that in the coming days.”

On Friday afternoon, during a briefing alongside Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam, and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Dominic LeBlanc, Blair said “we are considering a very wide range of additional options that can be imposed” on arriving passengers.

But he also noted that maximizing the effectiveness and “enforcement” of measures already in place, including the 14-day quarantine and pre-arrival PCR testing, is equally important.

“I know the police have been somewhat reluctant” to use tools at their disposal to enforce the 14-day quarantine, including fines, Blair added. “We will continue to put in layers of protection and control.”

Canada wouldn’t be the first to bring in mandatory hotel quarantine for returning travellers. Australia has had hotel quarantine measures in place for months.

Meanwhile the UK is considering similar measures, with potentially 10 days of hotel quarantine for returning travellers, at the traveller’s expense. Confirmation could come from British PM Boris Johnson as early as tomorrow.