Americans who are fully vaccinated may soon be allowed to travel to Canada for the first time in more than a year.
During a call with Canada’s provincial and territorial premiers on Thursday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the move could be made by mid-August if case numbers and severe illness from coronavirus continues to decline in the country.
It’s a sharp contrast to the United States, where case numbers are on the rise in all 50 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We could expect to start allowing fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents into Canada as of mid-August for non-essential travel,” Trudeau said, according to a readout from the meeting.
The Prime Minister expects vaccinated residents of other countries could enter Canada by early September.
Trudeau and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs Dominic LeBlanc noted that Canada is in a position to open its borders because of its success at getting its residents vaccinated.
“Canada continues to lead G20 countries in vaccination rates with approximately 80 percent of eligible Canadians vaccinated with their first dose, and over 50 percent of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated,” Trudeau said.
In addition to the border news, Canadian officials announced Thursday that cruise ships will once again be sailing and stopping at the nation’s ports. Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra said the ban on cruise ships will be lifted on November 1 if operators comply with public health requirements.
“As Canadians have done their part to reduce the spread of COVID-19, our government continues to work hard to safely restart our economy and build back better,” Alghabra said in a statement. “We will welcome cruise ships, an important part of our tourism sector, back in Canadian waters for the 2022 season.”
Canada had banned cruise ships last February, and the rule was supposed to be in effect until the end of February 2022. But the positive steps Canadians have taken in combatting COVID led to lifting the ban earlier than anticipated, a move welcomed by local officials.
“Our local economy has definitely taken a hit, but thanks to residents shopping local and supporting their friends and neighbors’ businesses, many businesses are still making it work,” Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps said. “My thanks to the Federal government for doing the necessary work to keep Canadians safe during the pandemic, but also for understanding how much the cruise industry means to the entire south island.”
While positive steps are being taken, Trudeau and the first ministers said there is still plenty of work to be done.
The importance of working collaboratively on a proof of vaccination credential, and prioritizing work to implement a system that would enable Canadians to travel internationally with confidence are at the top of the list, according to the readout.