Air travellers to Canada to quarantine at hotels starting February 22

Share News:

TORONTO: Air travellers to Canada will quarantine in hotels starting on February 22 as they await the result of a coronavirus test, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said.

Trudeau previously announced stricter restrictions would be imposed on nonessential air travellers in response to new, likely more contagious variants.

Government officials confirmed that — with limited exceptions — nonessential air travellers will be required to reserve a three-night stay in a government-authorized hotel at their own expense before they depart for Canada.

Those who cross the US border by land won’t have to isolate at a hotel but will have to show a negative test taken within three days before arrival and be tested on arrival as well as toward the end of a 14-day quarantine at home or elsewhere.

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said less than 5 per cent of those who cross the land border are nonessential, one reason why the hotel stay is not required for those who enter by land.

The measures especially affect Canadian “snowbirds” who winter abroad and return home in the spring.

Health Minister Patty Hajdu said vaccinated Canadians will not be exempt because research is still not clear on whether those vaccinated can still transmit the virus to others.

Some Canadian “snowbirds” are getting vaccinated in Florida and Arizona.

Trudeau said it could take up to three days for test results to be available and he previously said the cost of a hotel stay for air travellers could be USD 2,000 Canadian (US$1,576.). The steep cost for the hotel stay includes the cost of security, food and measures hotels will have to take to keep their workers safe.

Travellers would then isolate at home or elsewhere if the test is negative. Canada already requires those entering the country to self-isolate for 14 days and bans nonessential travel to the country.

The Canadian Snowbird Association has said the cost of the hotel stay poses a financial hardship for many and travellers who test negative should be able to quarantine in their homes.

Some snowbirds are flying back before a hotel stay is mandatory. Dr Morley Rubinoff, 71, said he left his condo in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, about six weeks early this year to avoid what he called “hotel hell.” The semiretired dental specialist said he arrived in Mexico on December 31 and had planned to stay until mid-March before returning to Toronto.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam said Friday there have been more than 429 cases of a worrying variant first identified in the UK, and 28 cases of the variant first identified in South Africa reported across eight provinces. So far, there has only been one report of the variant first found in Brazil.

leave a reply