There could be lineups at Canada’s 117 border crossings with the U.S. Monday, as non-essential travellers now have to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken in the last 72 hours.
It’s the next phase of Ottawa’s new travel restrictions, which came into effect on February 15. Travellers by land are required to show the results of their COVID-19 test. Negative tests need to have been taken within three days of the scheduled arrival at the border, but those permitted to enter the country can also present a positive COVID-19 test, as long as it was taken 14 to 90 days prior to arriving at the border.
All visitors or returning residents still have to quarantine for 14 days after crossing into the country.
Although the need to present test results could slow down proceedings at the border, 93 per cent of drivers will be waved through, as essential workers such as truck drivers and medical staff are exempt from the new restrictions.
Some are saying these new restrictions don’t go far enough.
“Who is more of a threat? A trucker who travelled through 14 states, who slept in his truck, and eat[s] at truck stops, or just two people travelling in Canada?” said CTV News Public Safety Analyst Chris Lewis. “So that’s all very confusing to me.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau insists the new requirements will make a difference.
“These border measures will help stop the spread of COVID-19 and new variants,” he said in Ottawa on Friday.
But health experts aren’t so sure, pointing to five different variants now circulating in the U.S.