Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked several questions about the possibility of reopening the Canada-U.S. border for non-essential travel on May 21, 30 days after the last extension of the closure.
Although he did not directly answer if there are plans to resume cross border travel on that date, Trudeau said preventing transmission of the COVID-19 from individuals outside of Canada is “essential” in making sure the country does not face a second wave of the virus that is as serious, if not more serious, than this first wave Canadians are experiencing.
Will the Canada-U.S. border be reopened for non-essential travel on May 21?
“We’re going to continue to be very careful about vectors of infection into Canada, that means continuing with restrictions on international travel,” the prime minister said. “At the same time, we have brought in measures that means anyone coming into Canada…will need to self-isolate for two weeks.”
“We are looking at stronger measures to make sure we’re following up appropriately on people [who] come over because as we know, as economic activity starts to ramps up, as restrictions get loosened across countries, it is likely that we will see a few more people either returning home or a few more people trying to cross the border.”
Trudeau said the focus right now is on flattening the curve, decreasing case number across Canada and making sure there are mechanisms in place to deal with any future spikes in COVID-19 cases. The prime minister stressed that “positive and constructive” conversations between Canada and the U.S. continue to occur and more information will be shared in the coming days.
What will be the new normal in Canada?
The chief public health officer was also asked about what she believes the “new normal” will be in Canada.
“I think it’s the recognition that we have not eliminated this virus,” Dr. Tam said. “The new normal means we have to be extremely cautious about relaxing public health measures.”
She added that Canadians must continue to observe core public health rules, particularly staying home if you are sick, regular hand washing and physical distancing. Dr. Tam said mass gatherings and non-essential travel will not be happening “anytime soon.”
“I think a lot of what fundamentally characterizes Canadian daily lives will not look the same as before,…before January of this this year, so listen really carefully to your local public health authorities,” Canada’s chief public health officer said.