There’s been a lot of hype about today. 05JUL became etched on the minds of everyone in Canada’s travel industry as the date when - after 16 long months - the country’s border and travel restrictions begin to ease.
But just a little. And not really today. No one's really feeling like slapping each other on the back and handing out cigars.
As Open Jaw readers have noted in our comments section, and as careful reading of the government’s statement reveals, the new rules take effect at 11:59 PM - one minute before midnight. So really, just a single minute of today’s arrivals have the opportunity to take advantage of changes announced by Ottawa last month.
After 11:59 PM today, Canadians and permanent residents arriving at the border fully vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine approved by Health Canada will be able to skip hotel quarantine, a full 14-day home quarantine, as well as the Day 8 COVID test.
All the other requirements, like pre-boarding negative test results and testing once they arrive in Canada, still apply. Pax must use the ArriveCan app to show their negative test and vaccination status to Canada Border Service agents.
That leaves many arrivals out in the cold, and as CTV reports, the CBSA is not going to be bending the new rules.
Anyone arriving before 11:59 PM today will still have to go into two-week quarantine, and if arriving by air, into hotel quarantine.
Furthermore the CBSA appears braced for a rush of people to the border who still aren’t allowed to enter the country. "If you were unable to come to Canada on July 4 of this year, you can't come in on July 5 -- there's been no change to all of the restrictions and the provisions that have been issued on that front," said Denis Vinette, CBSA vice-president, travellers branch.
"I think we can expect, certainly in the early days, individuals believing that, you know, July 5 is here, Canada is now open for tourism, recreation and things of that nature. That is not the case," he said.
Today’s easing of border restrictions is Ottawa’s Phase I of a multi-phased reopening. The government has not revealed what thresholds must be achieved to trigger additional phases, nor what those phases might be, although Prime Minister Trudeau and other leaders have suggested fully vaccinated non-Canadians might become the next category of travellers to enjoy new entry requirements and fewer restrictions.
The Canada/ U.S. border remains closed and all other travel restrictions remain in effect. They are scheduled to expire 21JUN, but may be extended for another month at that time.