Highlights

Canada reopens border for fully-vaccinated US visitors

US didn’t reciprocate the gesture

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The Canadian border, which has been closed to travellers from the United States since March 2020, finally reopened on Monday to US tourists who can prove they’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The Canadian government had previously barred Americans from entering the country on nonessential trips and will continue to bar other foreign nationals until September 7, when the borders will open back up to fully vaccinated travellers from other countries.

As of August 9, US tourists – meaning American citizens and permanent residents – will have to use the Canadian government’s ArriveCAN app to upload their proof of vaccination 72 hours before arriving.

Previously, Americans arriving in Canada for essential travel had to undergo a mandatory three-night stay in a government-authorized hotel. During those stays, travellers had to self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms and were not permitted to leave their assigned rooms without escorts.

The US and Canada had mutually agreed to block nonessential travel across the 5,500-mile land border in March 2020. Every month since then, both governments have renewed the restrictions.

The August 9 border reopening comes after months of criticism against Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whose refusal to ease the restrictions infuriated many border-area mayors and businesses.

The reopening was also threatened by a long-running labor dispute between the federal government and border staff with the Canada Border Services Agency. The border staffers were set to strike and had already begun a slowdown, which involved border agents asking travellers every single question in their manuals, according to Politico.

But negotiations between the unions and the Canadian government managed to stave off a strike ahead of the reopening and resulted in a new four-year deal granting annual pay increases and new parental and caregiver leave policies.

The border closures and lack of tourists within the last year and a half have been disastrous for Canada’s economy. In Toronto alone, the lack of tourists resulted in a loss of $8.4 billion in economic activity in the year after the pandemic began, according to Destination Toronto, the official marketing organization for the city’s tourism sector.

Via Yahoo!

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