Planning holiday travel? Here's what you need to know
In response to the Omicron variant of concern, Canada and other countries are quickly implementing new COVID-19 travel rules that could impact your holiday air travel. Here's what you need to know.
TRAVELLING IN CANADA
As of Nov. 30, only fully vaccinated Canadians can board a flight, or train in Canada. Proof of vaccination can include the federal vaccine card or in some cases a paper copy.
TRAVELLING TO THE U.S.
As of Dec. 6, anyone two years and older and flying to the United States needs a negative COVID-19 test one calendar day before their flight. However, you don't need this test if crossing at a land border.
Many airports, including Vancouver International Airport, have testing on-site that can get you results in as quick as 30 minutes.
Robyn McVicker, the vice president of Passenger Journey at YVR told CTV News there are four different options in and around the airport, and suggested people could book ahead.
Travelling anywhere else
Each country will have specific entry requirements. Traveller Adam Zia who was Pakistan bound from Victoria said for each stopover he had, including Qatar and London, he had to make sure he checked all the pre-entry requirements and got the necessary tests. He told CTV News the changes were difficult to navigate not only for him but for airline crew.
Key to re-entry is the ArriveCAN app, but there are difficulties.
CTV News previously reported on issues faced by those who didn't know they needed the app. While it appears some border agents allowed travellers to go back to fill it out, others were slapped with a two week quarantine.
In the House of Commons, the Conservatives pushed the Liberal government to come up with a solution.
MP Raquel Dancho said politicians "have received hundreds of complaints about this."
Public Safety Minister Marco Mendocino promised more flexibility was coming.
"I've spoken with CBSA," he told the house. "So there's additional guidance to provide the opportunity to provide the information that is necessary on ArriveCAN at the borders."
In addition to filling out vaccination and quarantine information on ArriveCAN anyone five and older also needs a negative test within three days of their flight. Everyone except those arriving from the U.S. will be tested at the airport, the fully vaccinated can quarantine at home until they are cleared, and the unvaccinated must quarantine for two weeks at a designated facility.
At YVR, McVicker said the wait time for a test could be up to an hour and encouraged folks to pre-register their information to avoid delays.
"If we are having a busy time peak period, in some of those cases people will be given a take-home kit," she added.
RETURNING FROM THE U.S.
If your trip to the U.S. is less than 72 hours, you don't need a negative test to get back in, but you could still be subject to a random test.
RETURNING WITH CHILDREN
Unvaccinated kids under 12 will have to be tested at the airport on day eight and will need to stay home from public settings, including school for 14 days. Those 12 to 17 who are unvaccinated will have to follow the full 14 day quarantine protocol.
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