Justin Trudeau sun destinations travel ban

Canada introduces a ban on flights to sun destinations and $2,000 quarantine

Post-travel quarantine will be spent in government-designated hotels and other facilities.

In a press conference outside Rideau Cottage this morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the federal government is officially implementing a ban on travel to sun destinations until April 30. This follows growing pressure from Canadian premiers, notably Doug Ford and François Legault. All other international flights will be forced to land in either Montreal, Vancouver, Toronto or Calgary. Trudeau also announced additional testing and tougher mandatory quarantine measures, including a $2,000 hotel stay as returning travellers wait for COVID-19 test results.

“Canada’s main airlines have agreed to suspend service to sun destinations right away,” Trudeau said. “Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing and Air Transat are cancelling service to all Caribbean destinations and Mexico starting this Sunday, up until April 30. They will be making arrangements with their customers who are currently on a trip in these regions to organize their return flights.

“The government of Canada is working with the major airlines on testing and quarantine requirements on top of these flight cancellations. Starting next week, all international passenger flights must land only at the following four airports: Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal.

“In addition to the pre-boarding test we already require, as soon as possible, in the coming weeks, we will be introducing mandatory PCR testing at the airport for people returning to Canada. Travellers will then have to wait up to three days at an approved hotel for their test results at their own expense, which is expected to be more than $2,000. With negative test results, they will then be able to quarantine at home under significantly increased surveillance and enforcement. With a positive test, they will be immediately required to quarantine at government-designated facilities. We will also, in the coming weeks, be requiring nonessential travellers to show a negative test before entry at the land border with the U.S.

“With the challenges we currently face with COVID-19 here at home and abroad, we all agree that now is just not the time to be flying. By putting in place these tough measures now, we can look forward to a better time where we can all plan those vacations. Our government is truly committed to the safe restart of the travel and tourism sector as soon as conditions improve — ideally later this year.”

Trudeau also thanked the major airlines and frontline workers for their hard work in bringing Canadians home at the beginning of the pandemic last spring, and for implementing tough and effective health measures to make air travel safe. He noted that, based on available data, “fewer than 2% of COVID-19 cases are linked to Canadians coming back to the country,” but stated that the emergence of new, more contagious variants of the virus has forced the government to reduce international travel. ■

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