OTTAWA—Canada said it would allow fully vaccinated Americans to enter the country for recreational or tourist activities beginning Aug. 9, more than a year after authorities first closed the 5,500-mile border to most travelers to limit the spread of Covid-19.
The government said Monday that border restrictions for fully vaccinated travelers from other countries could also be lifted beginning Sept. 7, assuming Canada’s Covid-19 caseload stays relatively low.
“We are very pleased to gradually and responsibly open up,” Canadian Prime Minister
said. He said the decision to allow fully vaccinated Americans to visit Canada before tourists from other countries “is in recognition of our unique bond, especially between border communities.”
American citizens and permanent residents will need to provide proof of their full vaccination status, with their last dose taking place at least two weeks before their arrival, and must not have any Covid-19 symptoms, officials said. They will also be required to present evidence of an approved negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of their arrival in Canada. Officials said that starting Aug. 9, they won’t require follow-up tests from people who are fully vaccinated unless they are selected for random testing.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security declined to say Monday whether it planned to renew or modify its own border restrictions with Canada. The two countries will need to decide by Wednesday whether to renew their shared border restrictions for another month, as they have done since March 2020, or modify them. Canada’s public-safety minister, Bill Blair, said Monday that he was told the U.S. expects to renew its current restrictions.
White House press secretary
said the U.S. was “continuing to review our travel restrictions,” and any decision about reopening the border to Canadian tourists would be guided by public-health and medical experts.
Canadian officials said it is possible to begin allowing more Americans to enter the country because of Canadians’ strong uptake of vaccines and its low Covid-19 caseload.
As of Monday, 70% of the Canadian population had received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, according to the University of Oxford’s Our World in Data. That percentage is one of the highest rates of first-dose coverage in the world. About 50% of the population is fully vaccinated, compared with 48% in the U.S.
The Canadian border has been closed to most Americans since March 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic first prompted global travel restrictions. Business groups, tourism operators and some travelers have pressed the Canadian government to reopen the border to Americans, citing high levels of vaccination and the economic and family ties that exist between the two countries.
Once travel restrictions begin to ease on Aug. 9, fully vaccinated Americans also will be allowed to bring unvaccinated children under 12 years of age to Canada, officials said, although those children can’t enter group settings such as camps or daycare centers.
Most fully vaccinated travelers won’t need to quarantine upon their arrival. However, the government said they should have a two-week quarantine plan ready in case officials at the border determine they don’t meet all of Canada’s requirements.
Only vaccines that are currently approved for use in Canada will be accepted, the Canadian government said Monday. Approved vaccines include those produced by
in collaboration with BioNTech SE;
Canada said Monday that it would end a requirement for air travelers to spend three nights in a government-approved hotel beginning Aug. 9. It also plans to expand the number of airports that can receive flights from international destinations as the restrictions are lifted.
At least two airlines,
said they plan to add more flights between the U.S. and Canada in response to the easing of Canadian restrictions.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce said it welcomed Monday’s announcement, although it added that the government’s requirements for vaccinated travelers, which it called costly and cumbersome, could discourage short trips by business travelers.
—Michelle Hackman and Catherine Lucey contributed to this article.
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