Long wait at border as restrictions ease for fully-vaccinnated travelers

Friday was a challenging day if you were trying to cross the border.

On the first day since the federal government lifted some restrictions on travelers entering Canada, the wait to cross into Canada from Montana exceeded five hours earlier Friday.

Normally a busy time of year when snowbirds are returning home to Canada, the new travel rules just made things that much busier.

“We ask travelers to be patient, said Lisa Laurencelle-Pearce, Executive Director of the prairie region of the Canada Border Services Agency.

“And,” she added, “to be ready with their information.”

The federal government lifted pre-entry testing requirements for fully vaccinated travelers Friday.

“They do need to take a COVID-19 test on arrival unless randomly selected,” Laurencelle-Pearce said.

But some travel requirements remain in place, she added.

“Travelers are to submit their mandatory proof of vaccination using the free Arrive Can app or through the website within 72 hours before arriving in Canada.”

Restrictions are only being eased for fully-vaccinated travelers

And with longer processing times at the border, the CBSA is urging travelers to help speed things along.

“Having their passport (and) Arrive Can receipt and proof of vaccination ready,” Laurencelle-Pearce said.           

Despite the epic wait times at the border, Canadians are itching to get out and travel.

“I travel a lot, so it makes travel easier,” said one woman. “Which is what really excites me about it.”

Another traveler at Calgary Airport added, “It makes it (travel) a lot less complicated.”

 And the tourism industry is anxious to welcome back our southern neighbours.

“We really do need an international guest to return if we want to actually see a recovery in the industry,” said Tourism Calgary CEO Cindy Ady, adding that it continues to be important to be mindful of safety.

“I know that my hospitality partners are working really hard at keeping their customers safe and comfortable,” Ady said.        

Travelers are advised to take delays into consideration when crossing the border, whether by land or through the airport.

And the easing of restrictions only applies to those who are fully vaccinated.

Rules for partially or unvaccinated travelers remain unchanged.

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