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Canada lifts cross-border restrictions for some fully vaccinated travelers

U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Canada

Canada’s government has announced it will lift restrictions for some fully vaccinated travelers in early July. The move is seen as the first step towards easing measures at the border, which officials last week announced will remain on hold for at least another month.

The latest in a series of monthly agreements shuttering the border was set to expire Monday, but Canadian Public Safety Minister Bill Blair tweeted on Friday that the restrictions would be extended until July 21. The announcement was a bitter start to the holiday weekend for border businesses and families who have been stretched financially and emotionally from almost a year and a half of being cut off from major population centers.

U.S. and Canadian officials have been mounting heated pressure over repeated delays to reopening the border and may have led to Monday's announcement.

The lifting of international travel restrictions applies to Canadians, permanent residents of Canada and foreign nationals who are considered essential workers and, in some situations, compassionate cases. It takes effect on July 5.

As well, people who are now able to enter Canada under existing guidelines will be able to do so without isolating for 14 days, or staying in a quarantine hotel upon arrival.

Health Minister Patty Hajdu said the easing of restrictions only applies to people who are full vaccinated.

"For travelers who are not fully vaccinated, I want to remind you that there are no changes to Canada’s current border measures," Hadju said. "And you must continue to adhere to the current testing and federal quarantine requirements."

Canada’s border guards will be responsible for reviewing each traveler’s circumstances.

Travelers will also have to show proof of having received a full series of a vaccine or combination of vaccines at least 14 days before entering the country. They will have to submit proof of vaccination into the Canadian government’s ArriveCan app before entering Canada – a first step toward a vaccination passport.

Hajdu said the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19 and preventing a fourth wave are the main reasons to keep the quarantine hotels up and running.

Business groups and opposition politicians said the slight reopening falls well short of what should be done.

NCPR's Ryan Finnerty contributed tot his story.