Canada-USA (Land) Border (Partial) Closure Extended To May 21st… And A Reopening In May?

No one will be surprised to learn that yesterday the current (outbound) land border closure has been extended by an extra month given our government’s extreme (international) travel rules. But US President Joe Biden is apparently planning to open the US border in mid-May. And since Canadians are always allowed to enter Canada by land, that could mean that a full reopening of the land border could be very close for us…

With the great vaccine news everywhere (well, everywhere except here since we’re statistically among the worst developed countries based on the data) and with the many reopening announcements by plenty of countries, it is now definitely time to think ahead and be optimistic about future travel (finally!).

We have a very important post with our thoughts on that and concrete ways to help you.

But for now, here is yesterday’s news (one was expected, the other one not so much).

 

Closure extended

We have a very detailed post about the Canada-USA land border closure, so let’s just tell you that yesterday it was announced that the border closure has been extended for another month, until May 21st.

That means that as of today, theoretically almost every one of Canada’s 12 rules for international travel is due to expire on May 21st:

  • the hotel quarantine
  • the regular quarantine
  • the test requirements
  • the land border closure
  • the entry restriction for non-Americans
  • the entry restriction for Americans

As a reminder, the land border is only closed for outbound Canadians: you are always allowed to reenter Canada by land.

Not only is that 100% allowed, but it is also 100% allowed to return by land to avoid the ridiculously-overpriced (and frankly pretty useless) $1,000 hotel quarantine.

That’s what makes yesterday’s US news even more intriguing…

 

Biden’s reopening plan

Instead of wasting time on implementing measures like forcing travelers to go to a hotel often for just one day—which changes nothing to the fact that they can decide not to follow the quarantine starting on day 2—when travelers represented a whopping 0.4% of COVID-19 cases in Canada at its peak in February… US President Biden instead focussed on what actually saves lives: vaccines.

Our Southern neighbors will have vaccinated all adults in May. Meanwhile, Canada ranks 49th in the world, behind global superpowers like Slovenia, Sweden, and Romania… so we’ll need to quickly change gears if we want to keep up.

Anyway, according to a Biden administration source who talked to CNBC yesterday, the US plans to “relax restrictions on travel across the borders with Mexico and Canada” by mid-May (in addition to relaxing restrictions on foreigners from Europe).

As you probably know since we’ve repeated it so many times, flying to the US is already allowed because only the US can decide who they let in and the Canadian government thankfully has no input on which countries we can go to.

(But the government will surely try to ask the US to reconsider the decision to open in order to block us from going somewhere where everyone will be vaccinated—but we’ll still be allowed to go to QC/ON/AB/BC with no tests, no quarantine, and no requirements whatsoever…)

 

What a mid-May reopening would mean

So if this rumor is true and President Biden reopens the land border in May, Canadians will be allowed to both leave and return to Canada by land.

Countless officials in the US have urged him to reopen the border as soon as possible. Of course, this would not mean Americans would be allowed in Canada, but that’s not what they want anyway (they want us Canadians to come to their country, not the other way around).

That will surely reassure many people, so we’ll say it for the thousandth time: Canada decides who can enter Canada (but Canadians are always allowed to enter Canada) and the USA decides who can enter the USA (but Americans are always allowed to enter the USA).

This whole border debate is another great example of how so many people seemingly can’t adapt to new information and a new reality at all.

Once every American is vaccinated in May, it will likely be a lot safer to be there than to be here. Yet just because the situation was bad there in the past, many can’t change their perception and impulsive emotional response: “USA bad! Bad! Bad!”

It’s just like the “bUt iN mArCh 2020 tRaVeLeRs WeRe tHe PrObLeM” argument… of course they were. That was a year ago.

There was 0 community transmission here then, now community transmission represents 99.3% of cases. And everywhere travelers were in March 2020, no measures were taken at all because just like here, no one had implemented any distancing and hygiene best practices. And we didn’t have a 14-day quarantine, we didn’t have pre-flight testing, and we didn’t have testing on arrival…

Anyway, in all cases, we can all finally see the light at the end of the tunnel very soon in terms of travel, at least if our government finally starts making decisions rationally based on science and data and not based on travel-shaming outrage in the media.

That’s a big “if” for sure, but seeing how so many countries are planning to reopen to all tourists very soon (Greece will even reopen to everyone on May 14th regardless of vaccination status, to give just one example), it’s important to start getting ready and to start being optimistic if you want to travel soon.

(Surely you miss traveling as much as we do, or almost as much!)

So don’t miss our important post this weekend about the next steps to take now to be ready to resume travel (and especially the mistake to avoid)!

 

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Summary

The Canada-USA (land) border (partial) closure has been extended to April 21st. But US President Biden plans on reopening it fully by Mid-May, an interesting development for those who want to travel somewhere people are all vaccinated and avoid the hotel quarantine that is mandatory if you return to Canada by plane.

What do you think of this news? Tell us in the comments below.

 

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Andrew D'Amours

Andrew is the co-founder of Flytrippers. He is passionate about traveling the world but also, as a former management consultant, about the travel industry itself. He shares his experiences to help you save money on travel. As a very cost-conscious traveler, he loves finding deals and getting free travel thanks to travel rewards points... to help him visit every country in the world (current count: 62/193 Countries, 46/50 US States & 9/10 Canadian Provinces).

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Debbie

    Re: travelers represented a whopping 0.7% of COVID-19 cases in Canada. Is this International travelers or both Domestic & International?

    1. Andrew D'Amours

      International travelers only. And that was February, every other month before was even lower.

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