Canadians hoping to escape the chilly winter and head to warm spots no longer have that option. Last week Prime Minister Trudeau announced that the Canadian government was implementing new travel restrictions on the Caribbean and Mexico due to COVID-19.
The country’s main airlines, including Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing, and Air Transat, all voluntarily agreed to suspend flights to the areas in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. This came as a result of many Canadians travelling internationally this winter, and in an aim to reduce travel to popular Spring Break destinations.
In addition to restricting flights to the Caribbean and Mexico, Canada is now also mandating new testing and quarantine rules. All visitors arriving from international destinations will now have to take a COVID-19 test at the airport- in addition to the pre-boarding test already required. They will then have to spend three-days quarantining at a designated hotel until they receive a negative result. Travelers will have to pay themselves, and it could cost upwards of $2,000.
“New variants of Covid-19 pose a real challenge to Canada,” said PM Trudeau on Friday. “That’s why we need to take extra measures.”
Those who test negative can then complete the remainder of their two-week quarantine period at home, but “those with positive tests will be immediately required to quarantine in designated government facilities to make sure they’re not carrying variants of potential concern”.
Some have criticized the move, saying it unfairly punishes Caribbean nations and Mexico. Especially since snowbirds that travel to Florida, a COVID-19 hotspot, are not facing the same restrictions.
However, PM Trudeau made it clear that the new moves were intended to discourage all unnecessary vacation travel, not just to those areas. For those that need to travel to those areas, they can still do so through the U.S.
“With the challenges we currently face with Covid-19, both here at home and abroad, we all agree that now is just not the time to be flying,” said Trudeau. “By putting in place these tough measures now, we can look forward to a better time, when we can all plan those vacations.”