Strict new rules for anyone travelling to Canada came into effect today.
As of February 22, anyone flying into Canada will be subject to a PCR-style test for COVID-19 after they land. Travellers also are required to have arranged a three-night stay at a designated quarantine hotel near the Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal or Calgary airport. (Test results taken within 72 hours of a scheduled flight also must be presented at the airport someone is flying to Canada from.)
Fliers who take their Canadian airport tests and are negative for the virus can finish out their mandatory, 14-day quarantine at home or at a designated quarantine site and will be subject to increased surveillance. Arriving passengers who test positive will be moved from their hotel to a designated government facility.
The government has added three hotels to the list of approved quarantine facilities: The Fairmont Vancouver Airport, the Radisson Vancouver Airport and the Fairfield Inn and Suites Toronto Airport. That means there are now 14 official quarantine hotels.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had said the hotels could cost $2,000 per person for up to three nights in quarantine, including food, security and transportation costs. But the Sheraton Gateway Hotel on Friday was quoting a three-night rate of $957 plus taxes for single occupancy, while the Calgary Airport Marriott said a three-night quarantine stay was set at $1,272 plus tax. The Holiday Inn Toronto Airport said a three-night stay with two occupants in a room would cost $1,617.
The rules state that passengers must book rooms on the phone by calling American Express Business Travel at 1-800-294-8253. Travel agents are not allowed to book for their clients.
Ottawa last Monday started requiring all non-essential travellers crossing into Canada by land to show a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours. Starting today (Feb. 22), non-essential travellers granted exemptions and allowed into the country at land crossings also be required to take a COVID-19 test at the border as well as at the end of their 14-day quarantine. That rule will apply initially only to border crossings that have the proper equipment, and will then be expanded.
The federal government website says the five border crossings that will require testing beginning today are Douglas, B.C., Coutts, Alberta, the Queenston-Lewiston Bridge in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, St. Bernard de Lacolle (Highway 15), Quebec and St Stephen 3rd Bridge, New Brunswick.
Onsite testing will required at 11 other border crossings as of March 4, including The Fort Erie Bridge in Ontario, the Pacific Highway in B.C. and Stanstead (Route 55) in Quebec.
Also starting today, anyone arriving by land or air will be required to submit their travel and contact information, including a suitable quarantine plan, electronically via ArriveCAN before crossing the border or boarding a flight. All travellers arriving to Canada must also continue to submit COVID-related information electronically daily throughout the quarantine period.
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