Planning on booking a tropical getaway sometime soon?
On Tuesday (May 25), provincial officials revealed B.C.'s restart plan — a four-step plan to bring the province back together.
As long as everything goes according to plan — meaning cases of COVID-19 continue to trend down — health officials envision British Columbians will have mostly "normal social contact" by the first week of September.
But don't race to buy that ticket to paradise just yet.
On June 15, as long as COVID-19 numbers continue to trend down, the province will lift the restrictions banning travel across the province. Recreational travel will be permitted and BC Transit and BC Ferries will increase services as needed.
While he expressed optimism for the days and weeks ahead, Premier John Horgan reminded people that the restart plan is contingent on "data," not just dates.
For now, Canadians are advised not to travel outside the country until further notice. Additionally, the government is extending the mandatory hotel stopover and 14-day quarantine for air travellers.
Travellers entering Canada by air need to book a hotel for a three-night stay upon arrival. They also need to provide a negative result for a COVID-19 molecular test taken within a 72-hour timeframe of their scheduled flight.
“We are extending the testing and quarantine measures at the border because they protect Canadians. As our health care system grapples with the third wave of the pandemic, our government will continue to adjust its response to COVID-19. I encourage all Canadians to get vaccinated when it’s their turn, and to keep following local public health measures," said Patti Hajdu, Canada's Minister of Health.
The hotel quarantine and testing program for air travellers will be extended until June 21, 2021.
Travel measures restricting entry into Canada
The Government of Canada is also extending the temporary travel measures restricting entry into the country by foreign nationals until June 21 in an effort to manage "the elevated risk of imported COVID-19 cases into Canada," explains a news release.
"Current data shows that Canada's pre-arrival, on-arrival, and post-arrival testing requirements, as well as mandatory hotel stay for air travellers, are working."
The Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) restricting all direct commercial and private passenger flights to Canada from India and Pakistan has been extended until June 21. The government is also extending the requirement for air passengers who depart India or Pakistan to Canada, via an indirect route, to obtain a COVID-19 pre-departure test from a third country before continuing their journey to Canada.
The government will continue to evolve its travel-related policies as "knowledge of the virus and variants increases" in Canada.