Visitors to Canada reminded that non-essential travel is still forbidden

Even as Canada relaxes quarantine rules for vaccinated citizens on Monday, the Canada Border Services Agency is warning would-be travellers that they still aren’t allowed to enter the country for non-essential reasons.

“If you were unable to come to Canada on July 4 of this year, you can’t come in on July 5 — there’s been no change to all of the restrictions and the provisions that have been issued on that front,” Denis Vinette, CBSA vice-president, travellers branch told the CBC.

“I think we can expect, certainly in the early days, individuals believing that, you know, July 5 is here, Canada is now open for tourism, recreation and things of that nature. That is not the case,” said Vinette.

Most foreign visitors to Canada come from the United States (15 million of the 22 million total foreign visitors in 2019)  and mutual travel restrictions between the two countries will remain in place until at least July 21.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has given no hints as to whether or not the restrictions will be lifted by then.

“When we start reopening so Americans and others who are fully vaccinated can come into Canada will depend on how this goes — on the data we collect, on how we’re able to keep Canadians safe even as we make adjustments to the rules,” he stated.

Previously, Canadian officials have indicated that they would like 75 per cent of eligible Canadian residents to be fully vaccinated before easing border restrictions. Ottawa has said that it expects to have enough vaccine delivered for 80 per cent of eligible Canadians to be fully vaccinated by the end of July. As of July 1, slightly more than 35 per cent of the eligible Canadian population was fully vaccinated.

According to statistics cited in a USA Today report, the U.S. Travel Association estimates that each month the border is closed costs US$1.5 billion.

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