Fully vaccinated American travellers now allowed into Canada for non-essential travel

CALGARY — Fully vaccinated American citizens and permanent residents are allowed to once again cross into Canada for recreational purposes as the border has now partially reopened, expanding the potential customer base for the tourism industry.

Those who have had two shots of a Health Canada-approved COVID-19 vaccine — Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca or the single-shot Johnson and Johnson  — are now eligible to enter Canada for non-essential travel two weeks after their last dose.

Travellers still need to provide a negative COVID-19 test prior to travel, but they will not have to submit another test post-arrival in favour of randomized day one molecular tests.

Airports in Halifax, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Quebec City and Edmonton are now included amongst Canada’s major cities — joining Calgary, Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver — accepting international flights. The government-mandated three-night hotel quarantine for all travellers has been removed.

The American government has yet to announce when it will lift restrictions for Canadians who want to cross the land border and enter the U.S. The current border closure remains in effect until at least Aug. 21.

Canada plans to further loosen restrictions and open its borders to all fully vaccinated travellers on Sept. 7.

There are no changes to the mandatory testing requirements for those who are unvaccinated.

Cindy Ady with Tourism Calgary says the changes will bring a welcome boost to business.

“We are seeing more interest and our phones have begun to ring,” Ady told CTV News. “So now we are looking at winter and obviously we have a very robust winter ski season that comes in to Alberta and through our city, as well as different groups that would choose to hold their business meetings here. It should be exciting.”

The local hotel association doesn’t expect the arrival of American tourists will fully alleviate the challenges facing the industry following a tough year-and-a-half, but director Sol Zia does believe it’ll move the pin.

“The average non-domestic traveller spends at least 40 per cent more than a Canadian domestic traveler,” said Zia. “We’re basically crawling out of where we were a year ago, and it could be a long climb.

“This is a start.”

With files from CTV’s Timm Bruch

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