Looking to travel within Canada or abroad? Here’s what you need to know

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TORONTO – As provinces and countries continue to relax lock-out restrictions, many Canadians considering summer travel are wondering what a potential vacation in the middle of the pandemic might look like. While most provinces have opened their borders for travel within Canada, some popular international destinations are also beginning to relax their restrictions in order to welcome tourists again. However, everywhere is not open and travelers must follow certain rules.

Here is what you should know now if you are considering a trip to Canada or abroad.

TRAVELING IN CANADA

With most international travel starting to reopen recently, some Canadians are instead taking the opportunity to explore their own backyard.

Although restrictions vary from province and territory to territory, most of the country is open to domestic tourism. However, provincial authorities have warned that the rules for domestic travel are subject to change.

Canadians can currently travel to Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia without having to isolate themselves for 14 days. Those looking to visit Manitoba and Nova Scotia may be required to self-isolate, depending on which part of the country they come from.

In addition, Saskatchewan and Manitoba have restricted all non-essential travel to and from northern communities in the provinces.

In Atlantic Canada, a “bubble” travel system allows residents of Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island to move freely between the four provinces without having to isolate themselves.

If all goes well, Premier of Newfoundland Dwight Ball has suggested that restrictions on travelers outside the region may be eased further in the province. However, Prince Edward Island Premier Dennis King said last week that he doubted the province was looking “beyond the Atlantic bubble anytime soon.”

Most travelers from outside Atlantic Canada are not yet allowed to visit Prince Edward Island or New Brunswick, but those with cottages in either province are allowed on condition of self-isolating for 14 days.

Nunavut and the Northwest Territories remain off limits to travelers from all provinces, except residents of Churchill, Manitoba, who are permitted to enter Nunavut. The two territories have created a travel bubble and its inhabitants can visit each other without isolating themselves, as long as they have not left their territory in the two weeks preceding their trip.

Residents of the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and British Columbia are also allowed to enter the Yukon without quarantine.

TRAVEL OUTSIDE CANADA

As other countries begin to open their borders, the Canadian government’s advisory against all non-essential international travel during the COVID-19 pandemic remains in effect until further notice.

Canadians can still travel abroad since government advice is not an order, but the federal government advises that they do so at their own risk.

Canadians still do not know where to go. Regions that have opened their borders to Canadians include European Union countries such as Greece, Italy, France, Spain, Denmark and Germany, in addition to Mexico, Jamaica and Dominican Republic, among others.

The Bahamas, Bermuda and Aruba are also open to Canadian travelers, but require them to take a COVID-19 test and submit the result on arrival. Only those with negative results will be allowed.

While flying to another country is an option, the Canada-U.S. Land border remains closed to non-essential travel until at least August 21. The ban on discretionary travel was first introduced in March and has been extended every month since.

Regardless of the country they visit, Canadians must self-isolate for 14 days upon their return home.

In addition, Canadians must follow new rules when flying, including wearing face masks in transit or at the airport and checking their temperature before boarding.

WHAT ABOUT TRAVEL INSURANCE?

Since the federal government travel advisory may be in effect for a period of time, so will the limits on travel insurance.

Joan Weir, director of health and disability policy for the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association, told CTVNews.ca that travel insurance is available from some companies but does not cover travel disruption related to COVID-19.

“COVID-19 is now a known problem, so it will not be in coverage for future policies,” Weir said in a telephone interview Monday. “If you’re an essential traveler you’ll be covered, but if you’re traveling for leisure, you probably won’t find any insurance you could purchase. ”

Weir explained that if your flight is canceled due to the pandemic or if you contract the novel coronavirus overseas, none of these costs would be covered by the insurance company.

“Without having medical insurance issues, if you’re at your destination and you get sick, getting treatment for anything you get sick can be expensive,” Weir said, adding that traveling without insurance was “always” a problem. risk. ”

Mr Weir also said travelers should be prepared to return to Canada quickly if the Government of Canada increases the level of travel advisories during a pandemic. It can also result in additional costs for travelers.

“If travel coverage is not available, then maybe you shouldn’t be traveling right now,” she said.

OWNERSHIP CONCERNS

Although Canadians may travel to parts of the country and outside of the country, some people may not yet be ready to board a plane.

However, Toronto-based travel consultant Barry Choi said “there has never been a better time” to fly than at this time.

“With an airplane, you are in closer contact with people. Many airlines have stopped keeping that middle seat empty, so there is a risk. But the airlines require that each passenger wear a mask, there is minimal contact with the flight attendants, you have your temperature checked before your departure so that there are safety measures in place, “said Choi during of a telephone interview Monday.

Choi explained that planes are designed to filter air better than other systems to ensure containments – not just dust or bacteria, but moisture and any other particles that could potentially harm passengers or the crew – be eliminated.

“It is really up to the traveler to decide if he is comfortable with these stages,” he said.

Choi, who traveled in March, said he had never been on a cleaner plane before, with passengers and staff taking extra care to ensure the plane was sanitized.

“Most people have wiped the armrest, serving tray, window and I know the airlines have taken extra steps to make sure their planes are clean like no catering and even spraying disinfectant” , Choi said.

“I think there has never been a better time to board a plane, but again, it really depends on your comfort level,” he added.

Despite improved aircraft cleaning measures, Canadians could unknowingly contract the virus during their flight.

A spokesperson for the Public Health Agency of Canada told CTVNews.ca on Monday that the federal government will not notify Canadians after receiving post-flight information about a passenger who has been found to be infected.

The federal government will notify the provincial health authorities and list the thefts on the Government of Canada website in the “Where you may have been exposed to COVID-19” section.

It is then up to each province to decide how to find the appropriate contacts. However, some provinces also do not communicate with potentially infected passengers.

According to the BCCDC website, British Columbia no longer directly contacts passengers on international or domestic flights “who were seated near a confirmed case during the flight.” Instead, this information is posted online ”.

This means that it is up to Canadians to exercise due diligence before and after travel to protect themselves while traveling amid the pandemic.

“It all depends on your comfort. The Government of Canada recommends only essential travel. So if you are thinking about taking a recreational vacation, it might not be the best idea given the risks, ”Choi said.

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