The reactions to the new Omicron variant continue, unfortunately for travelers. Canada has just announced yet another measure, but it doesn’t affect travel rules at least. To be clear, you can still travel and you can still enter Canada: the entry rules don’t change at all with today’s announcement.
Here are the preliminary details, the government’s press conference just ended at 2:30 PM.
The government announcement
Here is what was announced:
- The advisory to avoid non-essential travel is reactivated
- It’s just a recommendation, that’s all
- It’s not a rule, law, order, or anything like that
- Will take effect in the next few hours
- Will be reevaluated in 4 weeks
- Canadian travelers can still exit and enter (nothing changes)
I repeat: No rules are changing for travelers. None. It’s just a non-binding recommendation.
For the moment at least. As always, it can change.
Flytrippers was on the press conference call and a reporter asked what data this measure was based on, what evidence the government had that a non-binding recommendation would help the epidemiological situation in any way. As you probably guessed, no answer was provided by any of the 4 Ministers present.
The only real impact for Canadian travelers is on the insurance side. But as of July 2020, plenty of insurers are happily covering COVID-19 despite the travel avoidance advisory, without even charging more. So it’s not really that big of an issue.
We’ll have a very detailed guide to your travel insurance options very soon, so sign up for our free newsletter to get it first (and get plenty of resources for travelers).
We’ll also be sharing an article on how government travel advisories work, because clearly a lot of people have no idea what they are all about and think it has to do with protecting people in Canada (no, it has nothing to do with that; that’s just not what advisories are for at all).
We’ll be updating our “how to travel in a pandemic” checklist soon to help you sort this out, because it certainly doesn’t mean you have to cancel your trips.
Personally, I’m going to Miami this holiday season and I can say with almost 100% certainty that I won’t cancel because I understand what travel advisories are for: Informing me of the risks. That’s it.
So basically, this is a very typical government measure.
A measure that doesn’t change anything in practice, but that looks good to reassure all those who like when the government restricts travel.
And for low-information voters who don’t really look at the details, they hear that the government is “clamping down” on travel, which they will love of course. Even if the recommendation changes nothing at all.
The initial rumor
The rumor that preceded this announcement was that Canada would close its borders to foreign travelers.
After a discussion with all the provincial premiers last night, clearly that didn’t stick.
So to be clear, it is still allowed for all vaccinated foreigners to enter Canada without putting us at risk. So you hopefully understand that if you come back from the same countries foreigners are arriving from, you are not more of a danger than they are.
By the way, Public Health spokespersons repeated that it’s community spread of omicron and full arenas with 20,000 people rather than international travel that should be the focus based on the evidence…
But they said exactly the same thing all along the travel shaming craze of early 2021 and that sure didn’t stop the government from trying to restrict travel (and failing to stop variants even with a 14-day quarantine; so imagine with basically no quarantine like now).
Speaking of the new requirements that came into effect last week, one reporter asked Dr. Tam what the science behind excluding those arriving from the USA from mandatory arrival testing was… the answer was a bit of avoidance, only to have her colleague say that there was obviously none, but that they can only make recommendations to politicians and politicians make the decisions…
More details to come.
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The advisory to avoid travel is back, but it does not change anything at all. It is simply a recommendation. Canadian travelers can still leave and come back, as was possible all throughout the pandemic. There are no changes to entry rules for travelers.
What would you like to know about this measure? Tell us in the comments below.
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