Ottawa, Canada: Air travelers to Canada have to quarantine in a hotel starting Feb. 22 as they await the result of a coronavirus test, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced early this month.
Trudeau previously announced stricter restrictions would be imposed on nonessential air travelers in response to new, likely more contagious variants.
Government officials confirmed that — with limited exceptions — nonessential air travelers will be required to reserve a three-night stay in a government-authorized hotel at their own expense before they depart for Canada.
Those who cross the U.S. border by land won’t have to isolate at a hotel, but will have to show a negative test taken within three days before arrival and be tested on arrival as well as toward the end of a 14-day quarantine at home or elsewhere.
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said less than 5 percent of those who cross the land border are nonessential, one reason why the hotel stay is not required for those who enter by land.
The measures especially affect Canadian “snowbirds” who winter abroad and return home in the spring.
Health Minister Patty Hajdu said vaccinated Canadians will not be exempt because research is still not clear on whether those vaccinated can still transmit the virus to others.
Some Canadian “snowbirds” are getting vaccinated in Florida and Arizona.
Trudeau said it could take up to three days for test results to be available and he previously said the cost of a hotel stay for air travelers could be $2,000 Canadian (US$1,576.). The steep cost for the hotel stay includes the cost for security, food and measures hotels will have to take to keep their workers safe.
Travelers would then isolate at home or elsewhere if the test is negative. Canada already requires those entering the country to self-isolate for 14 days and bans nonessential travel to the country.