While PCR testing is not required as of Tuesday for short visits under 72 hours, returning travelers still need to upload their vaccination information into the ArriveCan app or face a 14-day quarantine.
THUNDER BAY – The Canada Border Services Agency is stepping up for an expected increase in the number of travelers seeking entry to Canada.
Starting Tuesday, fully vaccinated Canadians will be able to take trips out of the country lasting less than 72 hours without needing to provide a COVID-19 molecular test to re-enter Canada without having to self-quarantine. for 14 days.
The move comes weeks after the United States reopened its land and sea borders to fully vaccinated travelers, the move coming 20 months after Canada and the United States closed the borders between the two countries.
Charles Fischer, a CBSA representative at the Pigeon River border crossing, said traffic northward to Canada from Minnesota is currently three to six percent of normal movement levels for this period of year, when thousands of people flock south to take advantage of the Black Friday deals. .
“There isn’t a lot of personal traffic,” said Fischer, who added he had no idea what to expect on Tuesday.
“Right now he’s heavily oriented towards trade and transportation, cross-border business, that sort of thing. “
While the need for a PCR test has been removed for day trips and short getaways under 72 hours, returning Canadians are still required to present their vaccination status when they re-enter the company and must upload all required information, including proof of vaccination, through the ArriveCan app.
Do your homework, warns Fischer.
“You have to do a few things. One of them is that you have to submit your information through the ArriveCan app. If you don’t have a smartphone, you can access it online through a portal. In the app, you will submit your vaccine information. You are going to submit your information about who you are. And that’s going to ask you questions that you’ll need to fill out, ”Fischer said.
“And that has to be done before you get to the border. It is a requirement. If you show up and have not submitted your information in ArriveCan, you may be quarantined for 14 days. If you are quarantined at the border, you are legally obligated to perform this quarantine. “
Failure to do so could result in a fine of up to $ 750,000 and / or up to six months behind bars.
Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated Canadians who could pass through U.S. screening protocols – Americans aren’t supposed to ask every traveler for proof of vaccination – will automatically have to self-quarantine for 14 days.
Fischer said travelers should also be prepared for longer wait times at the border, noting that a 60-second screening from pre-COVID times could take up to three minutes. An expected rush to the border, particularly in Thunder Bay, where thousands of packages are kept at the Ryden’s Border store, will also likely result in longer queues both ways.
Some returning travelers could also be randomly selected to take a mandatory take-out COVID-19 test. Foreign travelers, those who are not considered citizens, permanent residents or persons registered under the Indian Act, must always present a negative PCR test to be allowed to enter Canada, regardless of the length of time. stay.
Thunder Bay District Health Unit medical officer of health Dr. Janet DeMille urged local residents to exercise caution if they decide to travel to the United States, especially Minnesota, which has the second highest number of cases. per 100,000 in the country, at 76, behind Michigan. Cook County averages just 1.6 cases per day, according to the New York Times.
“You have to be careful if you go to Minnesota,” DeMille said. “We know all the steps to take to reduce the risk of contracting COVID. Minnesota really has rates right now… You can only go if you’re fully immunized, so that’s really good.
“Ideally, don’t hang out with people who are sick or have symptoms because you could be exposed and infected. Wear a mask, keep two meters away, and be outdoors as much as you can. “
Fischer reminded travelers that the 72-hour window is closed and anyone showing up even a few minutes late will have to produce proof of a negative PCR test or face quarantine and possible legal ramifications.