Border-town mayors call for end to Canada’s COVID-19 test requirement for travellers

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Border-town mayors call for end to Canada’s COVID-19 test requirement for travellers

November 8, 2021 Sigma Mist 0

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A number of border-town mayors on either side of the Canada-U.S. border held a digital information convention on Monday morning to name on Canada to nix its expensive COVID-19 check requirement for totally vaccinated travellers. 

The occasion was held on the identical day the U.S. lastly reopened its land border to completely vaccinated leisure travellers, after 19 months of closure. 

However the border-town mayors mentioned they are not totally celebrating simply but, as a result of a giant impediment for travellers nonetheless stays: when coming into Canada, they have to take a molecular check — akin to a PCR check — which might value lots of of {dollars}. 

“Now there is a pathway to cross, but that pathway is dampened by an unreasonable and expensive requirement for a PCR check to return to Canada,” mentioned Drew Dilkens, the mayor of Windsor, Ont., which borders Detroit. 

“This PCR check requirement is a tough cease barrier for households to reunite aside from the wealthiest of Canadians, and that’s unfair.”

Take a look at value will hamper tourism, group says

Dilkens was joined on the information convention by the mayors of Niagara Falls, Ont., Niagara Falls, N.Y., and Sarnia, Ont., in addition to U.S. Congressman Brian Higgins and a consultant for the Resort Affiliation of Canada. 

They argued that whereas the U.S. land border is now open, the price of Canada’s check requirement will proceed to hamper a return to tourism on either side of the border.

“Once you inform a household it will value you one other $1,000 to go to us and you will not have any extra to eat or a nicer place to remain, they select to not [come],” mentioned Mayor Jim Diodati of Niagara Falls, Ont. 

Mayor Jim Diodati of Niagara Falls, Ont., mentioned Canada’s expensive COVID-19 check requirement deters some travellers from visiting the town. (Zoom/CBC)

When coming into Canada, irrespective of how brief their journey, travellers must take a pre-arrival molecular COVID-19 check — akin to a PCR check — which might value wherever from $150 to $300. Generally travellers can get free or discounted exams, however they are not accessible in all components of the U.S., and may not present outcomes inside a traveller’s timeframe. 

To assist ease logistical issues for Canadians taking brief journeys, Canada now permits individuals crossing into the U.S. to take their check in Canada after which use it upon their return — so long as it is lower than 72 hours outdated.

However that lodging does not remedy the associated fee downside, and Dilkens argues the 72-hour window defeats the aim of the check requirement. That is as a result of, he mentioned, a Canadian might take their check in Canada, be uncovered to COVID-19 whereas within the U.S., after which return house with no additional testing.

“The present system would permit somebody to take a PCR check in Canada, cross into Detroit to cheer on the [Detroit Lions football team] with 65,000 different followers within the stadium, after which return to Canada utilizing the check they took earlier than leaving,” he mentioned. 

“How is that check of any use to anybody?”

Mayor Drew Dilkens of Windsor, Ont., attended a digital information convention with three different border city mayors to name for an finish to Canada’s COVID-19 check requirement for travellers. (Zoom/CBC)

Travellers staying house

Canada’s check requirement first sparked complaints earlier this month when the U.S. announced it might reopen its land border to completely vaccinated travellers on Nov. 8, and never require them to take a pre-arrival COVID-19 check. 

Though many Canadians are planning to go to the U.S. now that the land border is open, others say they’re staying put till the check requirement is dropped.

“It is like a giant wall has been put up there and I am simply not capable of climb over it,” mentioned Ted Hilton of Ingersoll, Ont. He is craving to drive to close by Portage, Mich., to go to household, however says he cannot afford the potential value of the check to re-enter Canada. 

“I am 80 years outdated, dwelling off of pension earnings, and it is simply not there within the price range.”

Ted Hilton of Ingersoll, Ont., says he isn’t travelling to the U.S. till he is assured he will not should pay large bucks to take a COVID-19 check to return house. (submitted by Ted Hilton)

 

In pre-pandemic instances, John Roberts and his spouse, Linda, would go on day journeys from their Toronto house to the U.S. about 4 instances a yr.

The couple had deliberate to drive to Niagara Falls, N.Y., on Saturday to do some procuring, however cancelled their journey after realizing they’d should take a COVID-19 check to return to Canada. 

“You have to pay $150 every roughly for a six hour journey,” mentioned Roberts. “The added value for the journey does not make sense. It should cease individuals [from] going throughout.”

He mentioned the couple additionally backed out of the journey as a result of his spouse finds the PCR exams uncomfortable.

“The swab up the nostril, she hates it.”

WATCH | Journey value rise as restrictions ease: 

Journey prices rise as borders reopen to worldwide journey

As borders reopen to worldwide journey, Canadians planning journeys are being hit with sticker shock, with the excessive costs for obligatory PCR exams, the top of discounted airfare and rising rental automotive charges. 2:01

Canada reviewing check requirement

At a information convention on Friday, Chief Public Well being Officer Dr. Theresa Tam mentioned the federal government is reviewing the check requirement. 

“I do assume that each one of this must be re-examined as we’re doing with all of the border measures,” she mentioned. “We needed to take a cautious, phased strategy.”

Tam provided no timeline for when the federal government would end its overview of its border guidelines. 

Some medical experts say the Canadian authorities ought to think about changing its molecular check requirement with a extra handy and cheaper antigen check. All these exams are usually much less dependable however might be executed shortly earlier than a traveller enters Canada. 

“Doing an antigen check on the airport might be much more correct than a 72-hour-ago PCR check, since you’re catching individuals which can be infectious at that second as they enter Canada,” mentioned Dr. Zain Chagla, an infectious ailments doctor at St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton.

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