Canada to close travel loophole

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While the United States-Canada border has been closed for most people since March 18, 2020 — and will remain closed through at least February 21 of this year — there’s still an air travel loophole allowing people to travel between the two countries. Now, Canada is working with the US to take away that option.

Bill Blair, Canada’s public safety minister, said in a news conference on Friday, “A loophole, frankly, does exist because the Americans previously had not placed any restriction on international flights coming into the U.S. That concerns us because that restriction is at our land border but not at air travel.”

Since the US doesn’t impose restrictions on air travel from Canada, Canadians can travel to warm US states like Florida and Arizona — both high-transmission states — and then potentially bring the virus home when they return.

While Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledged that he can’t legally prevent Canadians from traveling, he did hint that it may become much more difficult.

During a news conference, he said, “We could be bringing in new measures that significantly impede your ability to return to Canada, at any given moment, without warning. The bottom line is this: This is not the time to travel either internationally or across the country.”

Potential further restrictions include contact tracing measures, more quarantine requirements, and other enforcement procedures to de-incentivize people from making nonessential trips.