It’s a question that many Canadian residents are asking these days: When will Canada reopen to international flights? As countries throughout Europe reopen to tourism and non-essential travel, other nations – such as Canada – remain on the sidelines, still hesitant to ease restrictions. Here’s what we know about Canada’s reopening.
International flights are taking place
It should be made clear that Canada is currently open to international flights and travel, but with a wide range of restrictions. Air Canada, the country’s largest airline, is now flying to destinations such as:
- Hong Kong
- Tel Aviv
- Mexico City
- and more
Foreign airlines are also flying into Canada as well, albeit on a more infrequent basis.
This means if foreigners/non-residents meet the requirements, they may be allowed into Canada with the condition of a 14-day self-isolation period. Family members of Canadians/Canadian residents, temporary foreign workers, and some international students are among those on the list of allowable-entries.
Canada’s Prime Minister lowering expectations
As part of his public morning briefings to the nation on Monday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that moving too quickly could spark a second wave of the coronavirus:
“I understand there are a lot of tourism firms and airlines who would like us to be able to once again welcome tourists…But these people all need to understand that if we take steps too quickly, if we are not sure of what we’re doing at each stage, we risk hitting a second wave … and having to close our economy again.”
Indeed pressure has been growing from the airline and tourism industries, who feel that the blanket travel ban is disproportionate. A group has even been set up to lobby for the easing of restrictions. Named the “Canadian Travel & Tourism Roundtable,” the group is comprised of leaders across the travel and tourism industry – with representatives from airlines, airports, hotels, and chambers of commerce across Canada.
So when will Canada reopen?
Unfortunately, we have yet to receive any concrete information on when Canada will reopen its borders. Trudeau has a valid point regarding the risk of a second wave of outbreaks. In fact, this is something we have already seen with countries that have already reopened.
Just this week, we’ve seen reports of several countries experiencing their ‘second wave.’ Examples include South Korea, Portugal, and Germany. Even parts of Australia are seeing an uptick in cases after having numbers steadily drop in recent weeks.
Therefore, it could be a few more months before Canada’s borders revert to ‘normal.’ The timespan would be lengthened mainly due to the United States and its inability to contain the spread of the virus.
While a ‘Trans-Tasman bubble’ is in the works right now for Australia and New Zealand, the respective leader of each country has already dampened short-term hopes of reopening, telling their citizens not to expect a reopening before 2021. Could Canada’s situation be the same?
Travel bubbles and air bridges
With Canada unlikely to institute a full reopening of borders for several months, we can only hope that there will be ‘air bridges’ established with other countries deemed low-risk and somewhat safe. However, we have yet to see any consideration of this idea by the federal government.
When do you think Canada will reopen its borders to non-essential international travel? Let us know in the comments.