Canada to ease travel restrictions at U.S. border starting Feb. 28

The U.S.-Canadian border crossing (File // FOX 13 Seattle)

Canada is loosening restrictions on the U.S. border as COVID-19 cases decrease across the country.

The Public Health Agency of Canada announced Tuesday that, starting Feb. 28, several adjustments will be made to cross-border travel and COVID testing.

"For two years now, our government’s actions in the fight against COVID-19 have been based on prudence and science. Today’s announcements are a reflection of the progress we have made against this current Omicron variant," said Minister of Health, Jean-Yves Duclos. "The return to mandatory random testing of all vaccinated travellers will facilitate travel for Canadians all while helping our public health authorities to detect future changes in COVID-19 importation rates and variants of concern. As we have said all along, Canada’s border measures will remain flexible and adaptable, for potential future scenarios."

Canada’s Travel Health Notice will drop from ‘Level 3’ to ‘Level 2,’ meaning it will be no longer recommended that people avoid non-essential travel. Still, people are expected to understand the risks of international travel, as the omicron variant has not fully run its course yet.

Starting Feb. 28, on-arrival testing for fully-vaccinated travelers will be eased; instead, officials say fully-vaccinated people will be selected at random for testing, but will not have to quarantine while waiting for their result. Children under 12 years old traveling with fully-vaccinated adults will not need to quarantine.

Unvaccinated travelers will still be tested on arrival and be required to quarantine for two weeks.

Unvaccinated foreign nationals will not be allowed to enter Canada.

Travelers will be allowed to use either a COVID-19 rapid antigen test or a molecular test result. Rapid tests cannot be taken at home, must be authorized by the country it was purchased in and administered by a laboratory, health care organization or telehealth service. The molecular test must be taken no more than 72 hours before your scheduled flight, arrival at the border or port of entry.

"The health and safety of Canadians is our government’s top priority. Since the onset of this pandemic, we have taken practical and necessary steps to stop the spread of COVID-19 – and as the situation evolves, so does our response," said Minister of Health, Marco E. L. Mendicino. "I especially want to thank Canada Border Services Agency employees for their tireless work over the past two years. We always take action to secure our borders and protect our communities, because that’s what Canadians expect."

You can find a detailed list of requirements and changes on the Government of Canada website.

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