In a blow to airlines and hotels, Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has announced new travel restrictions that are sure to dampen demand for travel and new bookings. The restrictions limit flights to sun destinations and mandate quarantines at approved hotels for returning travelers.
Canada’s new traveler requirements
Prime Minister Trudeau announced the following new measures:
- Working with airlines, flights to sun destinations in the Caribbean and Mexico have been suspended until April 30th
- Limiting international flights to Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal
- Mandatory testing at the airport
- Inbound travelers will need to quarantine at a hotel for three days, at their own expense, at an approved hotel
- After receiving a negative test result, passengers will need to quarantine at home under increased surveillance and enforcement
- Positive results will be quarantining in designated governmental spaces to ensure they are not carrying variants
According to Prime Minister Trudeau, the total cost of mandatory testing at the airport and quarantines at hotels is expected to cost over C$2,000 (~$1500). You can watch his briefing below:
I’m announcing new border measures that’ll help keep you and your family safe, and I’m giving an update on our government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tune in now for details: https://t.co/Oj6KhC4dbb
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) January 29, 2021
These new measures are in addition to the mandated preflight testing Canada requires and the shutdown of most foreign nationals’ entry.
Airlines suspend flights
Canadian airlines agreed to suspend flights from Sunday to sun destinations at the request of the Canadian government.
Air Canada has announced suspended operations to the following destinations:
- Cayo Coco, Cuba
- Cancun, Mexico
- Liberia, Costa Rica
- Montego Bay, Jamaica
- Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
- Varadero, Cuba
- Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
- Kingston, Jamaica
- Mexico City, Mexico
- Nassau, The Bahamas
- Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
- San Jose, Puerto Rico
WestJet has agreed to suspend flights to 14 destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean:
- Puerto Vallarta (including Swoop flights)
- Cancun (including Swoop flights)
- Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
- Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
- Saint Lucia
- Saint Marten
- Mazatlan, Mexico (operated by Swoop)
- Montego Bay (operating by Swoop)
Air Transat has completely suspended its regular operations from January 29th until April 30th.
These carriers will be working to organize repatriation flights for people who are abroad and want to come home to Canada. Airlines will work with affected customers to figure out the best course of action for them.
A worsening situation for Canadian airlines
Canadian airlines have been in a tough spot for many months. The Caribbean and Mexico were some of the few places where there was some demand for international travel. Through the busy spring break, Canadian carriers will not transport passengers to and from those destinations. For those who are abroad and want to get back to Canada, keep an eye out for repatriation flight announcements
Canada has not taken the full measures Australia has, which has mandated quarantines for arriving passengers for 14 days or Hong Kong’s 21-day quarantine at a designated hotel. However, the country’s 14-day quarantine mandate split between a hotel and home is one of the stricter restrictions in the world.
The vaccine rollout has been slow around the world, and the discovery of new variants has kept health officials on high alert as the pandemic continues to drag on and many countries continue to see high case numbers. In many ways, 2021 continues to be a difficult year for travel.
What do you make of Canada’s new entry restrictions for international arrivals? Let us know in the comments!