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Increased restrictions for cross-border travellers

Travellers between the United States and Canada who might have hoped for border crossing restrictions to be lifted recently learned that nonessential travelling would be even more difficult in the immediate future. Minister Bill Blair, Canada’s Public Safety Minister, announced new health-related restrictions for cross-border drivers and their passengers, and also arriving air travellers.

New restrictions

The new regulations require nonessential travellers to have proof of tests showing they meet health requirements. Such tests must be dated no more than three days before arriving at the border post. Reportedly, drivers without such proof could be fined up to $3,000 or even face criminal prosecution.

Furthermore, as of Feb. 22, customs will carry out additional molecular tests on drivers, who must also show plans to self-isolate for 14 days. The Public Health Agency will deal with any travellers who fail both health tests. Isolation measures will be taken to protect Canadians from infections.

The Minister further announced measures to ensure air travellers are healthy before they move about in public. Upon arrival, air passengers will have to arrange to stay in federally-approved quarantine hotels where they must stay for three nights. The accommodation, cleaning and testing will be for the account of the traveller. The estimated cost is $2,000.

Blair said these restrictions aim to deter people from travelling across the Canada-U.S. border. British Columbia residents who plan nonessential trips to destinations south of the border are advised to familiarize themselves with prevailing restrictions. Meeting all the necessary health-related requirements could avoid delays at the border crossing— or even criminal charges.