CANADA'S COVID-19 TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the travelling industry across all fronts, and it continues to do so as the busy summer season ramps up. Canada's ever-evolving COVID-19 travel restrictions have caused extreme delays and wait times, causing confusion, frustration and stress amongst thousands of travellers. While planning their next trip, Canadians are questioning what they should anticipate and how they can optimize not only their efficiency but also their safety while navigating any of these unexpected hurdles. In this post, we dive into how these progressing restrictions have negatively impacted travellers and the entire industry, what the Canadian government has done to mitigate these effects as well as how we can optimize our protection while travelling.
NEW TRAVEL ESSENTIALS
We are now in a different phase of the pandemic where many are much more flexible with mask-wearing, self-screening and social distancing practices. This flexibility can cause dis-ease, and puts us in a position where we need to be more mindful of how we are continuing to protect ourselves in both our day-to-day and, of course, travel plans.
Travellers, are you donning a KN95 and N95 mask at the airport and throughout your journey? These remain the encouraged standard, as they're able to filter out particles that carry the virus while also providing a tight, personalized sea and contoured fit. Passengers are still required to wear a mask while on federally regulated planes and trains, and public health experts continue to recommend the use of KN95/N95 masks to protect ourselves in crowded spaces, indoor settings and areas with lower levels ventilation (i.e., a plane).
Additionally, Health-Canada-approved rapid antigen test kits have quickly become a necessity on everyone's list, ensuring travellers' safety before, during and after their trip.
Sunscreen, swimsuits and comfortable shoes are no longer the only travel essentials!
DELAYS, CROWDS & YOUR PROTECTION
Recently and according to the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA), over 50% of international passengers experienced delays while navigating Toronto Pearson Airport. Although these travellers were told to arrive three hours prior to their flights departure, there were still many whom either missed or almost missed their flight due to the long wait times, extreme lineups and inevitable delays at each checkpoint due to Canada's travel restrictions.
“Data from the week of May 23 to 29 shows that more than 129,000 passengers were affected by metering and holding, which is an increase of 13,000 passengers from the previous week,” GTAA spokesperson Tori Gass told CTV News Toronto in this article.
“While the addition of more CATSA and CBSA officers will help, there are still too many passengers being held on board aircraft, thus duplicative public health questions and processes are another unnecessary delay for international arriving passengers, particularly at peak times,” she said.
Wearing a high-quality reliable face mask while navigating these, currently inevitable, obstacles, ensures your protection and peace of mind. Travelling is challenging enough, and not having to worry about your mask's performance or fit helps to ease unnecessary stress and discomfort during such demanding times.
Wear a mask that is doing the work for you, such as our Individually Sealed KN95 Mask. The individual seal is perfect for travellers, as the mask can be easily stored in your bag without becoming contaminated or losing its integrity, regardless of how much jostling around you're doing while running in between checkpoints. The Individually Sealed KN95 Mask boasts exceptional comfort and breathabilty, making it the ideal choice to don when navigating potential delays, crowded airports and long flights! With over 1,300 positive reviews, this mask is Canada’s go-to mask for travel!
After months of these delays and long lineups, Canada's busiest airport has deemed its current circumstances unsustainable, thus pushing the government to review the current travel restrictions in place for the country. Nearer to the beginning of the month, they suspended random COVID testing at all airports for the rest of June to mitigate some of the pressure the airports are experiencing. This had an immediate effect on wait times and tarmac delays at large airports, making it evident how much these restrictions are impacting travellers.
After such pressures, the Government of Canada has now announced that, as of June 20th, vaccination requirements have been suspended for all domestic and outbound international travel, and these suspensions apply to federally regulated transport sectors and federal government employees as well. This change should drastically reduce the excessive wait times in Canada's busiest airports, creating a smoother and less stressful experience for many.
WHAT ARE CANADA'S CURRENT COVID-19 TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS?
As of June 20th, 2022, vaccination requirements will be suspended for all domestic and international outbound travel. This means that proof of vaccination will no longer be required in order to board a plane or train in Canada. However, all travellers visiting or returning from outside of Canada must meet the entry requirements, including being fully vaccinated. The government has stated that this will serve as a layer of protection against any future variant(s), lessening any potential pressures on our health care system.
Until June 20th, all travellers above the age of 12 are required to provide proof of vaccination at entry and departure from Canada unless otherwise exempted.
BTNX Rapid Response Covid-19 Antigen Test Kit
Even with June 20th's changes, all travellers, regardless of vaccination status, must continue to submit their information in ArriveCAN through the free app or website. This information must be submitted 72 hours prior to arrival at a port of entry to Canada. Failure to submit this information and proof of vaccination using ArriveCAN can result in denied entry and a potential fine. This may also subject travellers to Day 1 and Day 8 molecular testing and a quarantine period of 14 days.
Children aged 5-11 are no longer required to complete a pre-entry COVID-19 test, regardless of vaccination status. All travellers 12+ who are not considered to be fully vaccinated must continue to provide proof of negative pre-entry COVID-19 test results.
Accepted pre-entry tests include:
• A negative health-professional-administered rapid antigen test taken no more than one (1) day prior to arriving at a port of entry.
• A negative molecular test taken no more than 72 hours prior to your scheduled flight or crossing at a land border.
• Positive antigen tests are not accepted.
One of the easiest ways to acquire your test results before travel is through virtual testing (a form of the first method mentioned above). This can be done from the comfort of your own home or hotel room, removing the unnecessary hassle of heading to a testing location. Once you have scheduled a virtual appointment with a qualified representative, they will observe you while you administer a rapid antigen test on yourself. Once completed, you will be provided with formal documentation of your test results via email.
These services allow or request that you use your own Health-Canada-approved rapid antigen test kit for the appointment, so be sure to check out the BTNX Rapid Antigen Test Kit (5-Pack) here.
Equipping ourselves with rapid antigen test kits while travelling allows us to remain informed on our current health status before, during and after our trip. As rapid antigen tests produce results in just 15 minutes, we're able to self-isolate within moments of experiencing symptoms, decreasing the chance of passing it on to others, especially those who may be compromised.
Easy to use and easy to travel with, rapid antigen test kits have revolutionized the COVID-19 testing industry, providing us with more control and freedom over our health during this global pandemic.
Quarantine & Masking
As it stands now, fully-vaccinated travellers are no longer required to provide a quarantine plan upon arrival to Canada. Additionally, they do not need to monitor and report their symptoms for 14 days after their return. The requirement of maintaining a list of close contacts and locations visited has also been dropped.
All travellers are still required to wear a mask on planes (regardless of vaccination status), trains and other federally-regulated modes of transportation. As mentioned, KN95 and N95 masks remain the encouraged standard for passengers due to their superior filtration efficiency and ability to provide a tight facial seal! Choosing a well-fitted, high-quality mask will not only protect you, but will ensure your comfort and breathability if faced with any delays or long wait times.
BEFORE YOUR TRIP
Prior to your journey, ensure that you've familiarised yourself with the most up-to-date COVID-19 testing and vaccination requirements as well as any other entry requirements of the location you are visiting. Their regulations may vastly differ from Canada's, and you want to stay informed so that you aren't blindsided at any point throughout your travels. As Canada’s entry and departure requirements differ from one another, you’ll also want to ensure that you’re staying on top of the latest announcements from the Government of Canada so that you are fully prepared and know what to expect for your trip!
For our travellers heading to the US, as of June 12, 2022, CDC will no longer require air passengers travelling from a foreign country to the United States to show a negative COVID-19 viral test or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before they board their flight. If you are a non-U.S. citizen who is a nonimmigrant (not a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, lawful permanent resident, or traveling to the United States on an immigrant visa), you will need to show proof of being fully vaccinated before you travel by air to the United States from a foreign country.
No matter where you're going, we encourage you to stock up on both KN95 or N95 masks as well as rapid antigen kits in preparation for your trip. Equip yourself with long-lasting, comfortable, breathable protection that will be your faithful guard throughout your journey!
The BTNX Rapid Antigen Test Kit (5-Pack) is perfect for any traveller. Health-Canada-approved and easy to use, providing you with your results in just 15 minutes!
From hand sanitizing stations placed every few feet in airports and hotel lobbies to PPE packing lists, COVID-19 has truly revolutionized the travel industry for all. The best thing we can do to ensure our safety is to stay up-to-date with the most current information within your country and desired destination, as well as equip ourselves with the right tools and protection. N95 and KN95 masks continue to be the gold standard of protection, especially while navigating crowded spaces, and rapid antigen test kits are a convenient way to stay on top of our health and the health of our loved ones when we need to the most.
Whether you're travelling to relax, play or explore, we've got you covered.
Please note that this post reflects the current travel regulations in Canada and is for reference purposes only. Please ensure that you do your own research and consult resources such as (but not limited to) www.canada.ca, www.travel.gc.ca and www.cdc.gov to stay informed on the latest updates, announcements and changes. We are not responsible for any misunderstandings.