Recently, Canada and the United States agreed to extend the land border restriction on all non-essential travel until October 21, 2020. This means that travel for tourism purposes will not be permitted at any land border crossing until at least October 21, 2020, but we anticipate this closure may well extend into 2021. While the Canadian Government will consider certain travel applications, on humanitarian grounds, on a case-by-case basis, the U.S. Government will not be considering such applications at this time. The CSA remains in constant communication with government officials and border agencies in both Canada and the U.S. to ensure that the concerns of our members are heard during these trying times.
While leisure travel to the United States by vehicle continues to be restricted, Canadian citizens are still able to travel to the U.S. by air. If you are travelling to the United States by plane, the CSA recommends that you contact your airline prior to departure in order to determine their policies as airlines continue to update these regularly.
As we have mentioned in past communications, Medipac, the Canadian Snowbird Association’s travel insurance partner, is providing travel medical insurance coverage which covers COVID-19. If you are travelling with coverage from another insurance provider, it is essential that you review your policy closely and ensure it includes coverage for COVID-19.
Once you arrive at your destination, it is important to remember that each state has different rules pertaining to quarantine requirements for international travellers. Currently, the three most popular sunbelt states for Canadian snowbirds – Arizona, California, and Florida – do not require international travellers to quarantine for a 14-day period. Guidelines from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state:
- When around others, stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people who are not from your household. It is important to do this everywhere, both indoors and outdoors.
- Wear a mask to keep your nose and mouth covered when you are outside of your home.
- Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer.
- Watch your health and look for symptoms of COVID-19. Take your temperature if you feel sick.
In addition, the CDC recommends that those who travel by air and from Canada should take extra precautions to protect others for 14 days after you arrive:
- Stay home as much as possible.
- Avoid being around people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
- Consider getting tested for COVID-19.
To determine the specific quarantine policies of other states, please contact the state health department for their latest guidance. Contact information for state departments of health can be found here, https://www.cdc.gov/publichealthgateway/healthdirectories/healthdepartments.html. These requirements are subject to change and the CSA will provide updates when new information is available.
Upon return to Canada, travellers are required to quarantine for a 14-day period, provide contact information, and monitor themselves for symptoms.
- Ensure you have a suitable place of quarantine that has the necessities of life.
- Go directly to your place of quarantine without delay and stay there for 14 days from the date you arrived in Canada.
- You must wear a suitable mask or face covering while in transit.
- Practise physical distancing at all times.
- Use private transportation such as a private vehicle to reach your place of quarantine, if possible.
- Avoid contact with others while in transit:
- Remain in the vehicle as much as possible;
- If you need gas, pay at the pump;
- If you need food, use a drive through;
- If you need to use a rest area, put on your mask and be mindful of physical distancing and good hygiene practices.
It should be noted that some provinces and territories have additional travel restrictions. Please see the provincial and territorial public health authority websites for more information. Detailed information for travellers returning to Canada, as well as contact information for the various health authorities, can be accessed here, https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/diseases-conditions/2019-novel-coronavirus-information-sheet.html.
The CSA will continue to work with government officials and agencies on both sides of the border and provide updates to members as soon as they are available.