Air travellers to Canada will quarantine in a hotel starting February 22 as they await the result of a coronavirus test, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said.
Trudeau previously announced stricter restrictions would be imposed on non-essential air travellers in response to new, likely more contagious variants.
Government officials confirmed that—with limited exceptions—non-essential air travellers will be required to reserve a three-night stay in a government-authorised hotel at their own expense before they depart for Canada.
Those who cross the US 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 towards the end of a 14-day quarantine at home or elsewhere.
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said less than 5 per cent of those who cross the land border are non-essential, 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 would not be exempt because research is still not clear on whether those vaccinated could 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 travellers could be USD 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.