Fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents will be allowed into Canada as of Aug. 9, joined by the rest of the world Sept. 7, federal officials announced Monday as the country prepares to lower border barriers that were erected to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Officials say the 14-day quarantine requirement will be waived beginning the second week of August for eligible travellers who are currently residing in the United States and have received a full course of a COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in Canada.
The move comes two weeks after the Canada Border Services Agency began waiving quarantine rules for fully vaccinated Canadian citizens and permanent residents. It remained unclear Monday if or when the Biden administration plans to reciprocate for visitors to the U.S.
"This preliminary step allows for the government of Canada to fully operationalize the adjusted border measures ahead of Sept. 7, 2021, and recognizes the many close ties between Canadians and Americans," the government said in a news release.
Children under 12 who are accompanied by fully vaccinated and eligible family members will also be exempt from quarantine, provided they wear a mask in public places and avoid indoor group settings.
All travellers will still be required to submit a negative COVID-19 test result and proof of vaccination prior to arrival by way of the ArriveCAN smartphone app or web portal, but post-travel test results will no longer be necessary.
Canada Border Services Agency officials will also be subjecting random travellers to a mandatory molecular test upon arrival.
"This strategy allows the government of Canada to continue monitoring variants of concern in Canada and vaccine effectiveness," the release said.
"Using these layers of protection, the government of Canada can monitor the COVID-19 situation in Canada, respond quickly to threats and guide decisions on restricting international travel."
As of Aug. 9, airports in Halifax, Quebec City, Ottawa, Winnipeg and Edmonton will also be added to the list of Canadian cities where international flights are permitted to land. Air travellers will no longer be required to spend the first three nights of their quarantine at a government-approved hotel.
"However, all travellers must still provide a quarantine plan and be prepared to quarantine, in case it is determined at the border that they do not meet the necessary requirements."