Canada to lift COVID-19 border restrictions Oct. 1

Canada will be loosening border crossing restrictions Oct. 1, and that could be good news for Minot.

This week, the Canadian government announced the removal of all COVID-19 entry restrictions, as well as testing, quarantine and isolation requirements for anyone entering Canada, effective Oct. 1.

Stephanie Schoenrock, executive director at Visit Minot, said the change should be positive. Although crossings are possible under existing rules, the re-entry requirements frustrated Canadians, she said. Conversations with Canadians indicated that even if vaccinated against COVID-19, compliance with the rules was burdensome and costly.

“The process was cumbersome,” Schoenrock said. “Hopefully, with this last restriction dropping, that will enable more of our Canadian friends to make the trip.”

According to information released by the Public Health Agency of Canada, the country has taken a layered approach to border management to protect the health and safety of Canadians. As the pandemic situation has continued to evolve, adjustments to border measures have been informed by the latest evidence, available data, operational considerations and the epidemiological situation, both in Canada and internationally, the agency stated.

It added the removal of border measures has been facilitated by a number of factors, including modeling that indicates that Canada has largely passed the peak of the Omicron BA.4- and BA.5-fueled wave, Canada’s high vaccination rates, lower hospitalization and death rates, as well as the availability and use of vaccine boosters (including new bivalent formulation), rapid tests and treatments for COVID-19.

Starting next month, travelers, regardless of citizenship, will no longer have to submit public health information through the ArriveCAN app or website; provide proof of vaccination; undergo pre- or on-arrival testing; carry out COVID-19-related quarantine or isolation; or monitor and report if they develop signs or symptoms of COVID-19 upon arriving to Canada.

Transport Canada is also removing existing travel requirements. As of October, travelers will no longer be required to undergo health checks for travel on air and rail or

wear masks on planes and trains.

Although the masking requirement is being lifted, all travelers are strongly recommended to wear high quality and well-fitted masks during their journeys.

In response to the Canadian decision, Sens. Kevin Cramer and John Hoeven, both R-ND, issued statements calling on the Biden Administration to end COVID-19 border restrictions.

“In the words of President Biden, the pandemic is over and now Canada has announced the end of COVID-19 border and quarantine restrictions,” Cramer said. “I urge the Biden Administration to follow suit of our close trade partner and ally. It’s high time to end restrictions on commercial truck drivers and expand hours of operations at U.S. ports of entry to pre-pandemic schedules. North Dakota, especially our border towns, rely on commerce and visitors from our neighbors to the north.”

“As Canada has ended their COVID-19 restrictions along the U.S. border, it’s now time for the Biden administration to follow suit,” Hoeven said. “North Dakota and other northern border states rely greatly on trade and travel with our northern neighbors for economic opportunity, and Canadians should not be denied entrance into the U.S. solely due to their vaccination status. At the same time, we will continue pressing CBP to resume pre-pandemic hours at North Dakota’s ports of entry.”


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