Fully vaccinated and yearning to travel? Here are the new rules of the road

Canada’s announcement that absolutely vaccinated Canadian travellers can skip quarantine upon their return has impressed some folks to start out making journey plans.

However earlier than packing your baggage, take observe that the pandemic is not over — and there are nonetheless journey guidelines in place that might have an effect on your journey.

“Journey is not fairly the identical as pre-COVID, and that is simply the truth transferring ahead for the foreseeable future,” stated Claire Newell, proprietor of Journey Greatest Bets, a journey company based mostly in Burnaby, B.C. 

Here is what it is best to know earlier than reserving your long-awaited trip. 

COVID assessments and vaccination necessities

Though vaccinated Canadian travellers are actually exempt from quarantine, they’re nonetheless required to offer proof of a detrimental COVID-19 PCR check earlier than returning to Canada and should take a second check upon arrival. 

The federal authorities covers the price of the arrival check. Nonetheless, travellers should organize and pay for his or her pre-arrival check, which may value tons of of {dollars}, relying on which nation they’re departing. 

Some trip locations, such because the United States, Jamaica and Saint Lucia, additionally require travellers to offer proof of a detrimental check upon entry — together with those that are vaccinated. So Canadians heading to such locations should additionally pay to get a check earlier than departing, which might value upward of $100.

“It is costly for the present kinds of assessments which can be required pre-flight, which can be on the passenger’s expense,” stated Newell.

Passengers getting off worldwide flights at Toronto’s Pearson airport are proven getting necessary COVID-19 assessments on Feb. 1, 2021. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

  • Have a coronavirus query or information tip for CBC Information? Electronic mail: Covid@cbc.ca 

Some solar locations, resembling Mexico and the Dominican Republic, haven’t any check requirement for Canadian travellers, and some European international locations are actually waiving the requirement for absolutely vaccinated Canadians.

On July 1, the Council of the European Union really useful that member international locations raise journey restrictions for Canadian travellers. 

At present, a number of European international locations, together with Greece, France and Italy, are welcoming Canadians and permitting them to skip their required COVID-19 check and any quarantine necessities — in the event that they present proof of vaccination.

So how do Canadians present proof?

Diodora Bucur, a spokesperson for the EU Delegation to Canada, stated the EU is engaged on a “COVID certificates regulation,” which is able to embrace commonplace guidelines for travellers from outdoors the area. 

“Till then, member states ought to have the ability to settle for [foreign]-country [vaccine] certificates,” Bucur stated in an e-mail. 

Travellers ought to rigorously examine all entry necessities of their desired vacation spot earlier than reserving their ticket, together with which kinds of COVID-19 vaccines a rustic accepts. 

Newell recommends scoping out this vacation spot tracker — created by the World Tourism Group and the Worldwide Air Transport Affiliation — which outlines journey guidelines throughout the globe.

What about home journey?

Newell, nonetheless, would not suggest Canadians go overseas simply but. That is as a result of the federal authorities’s advisory in opposition to non-essential journey overseas continues to be in place — even with eased quarantine guidelines for these vaccinated. 

“The federal government continues to be advising us to not be travelling,” stated Newell.

And that advisory might keep in place for some time, because the delta variant sparks a surge in COVID-19 circumstances in international locations throughout the globe, together with the U.S. and a number of other European nations.

Claire Newell, proprietor of Journey Greatest Bets in Burnaby, B.C., recommends not going overseas till Canada lifts its advisory in opposition to non-essential worldwide journey. (clairenewell.com)

For now, Newell recommends Canadians concentrate on home locations. Some airways are presently providing low-cost seats on home flights to woo Canadians to return to air journey, she stated. 

“Individuals usually recover from their concern of journey when there is a very, very low-cost deal.”

Manitoba and the Atlantic provinces nonetheless require sure guests to quarantine, however exempt vaccinated travellers. The exception is Prince Edward Island, which is able to begin exempting vaccinated travellers on July 18

What about journey insurance coverage?

Many insurance coverage suppliers have reinstated medical protection for COVID-19-related diseases whereas travelling overseas. 

However Toronto-based journey insurance coverage dealer Martin Firestone stated it is presently unattainable to get COVID-19-related cancellation protection — as a result of COVID-19 is now a identified drawback.

“My largest concern is that ought to we’ve one other [COVID-19] wave … there could be no protection from a cancellation perspective, if the only real purpose is COVID,” stated Firestone. 

Nonetheless, he stated, one main insurance coverage supplier has indicated to him it can reinstate COVID-19-related cancellation protection as soon as Canada lifts its journey advisory, and that different suppliers may observe go well with. 

Canadian residents and everlasting residents coming back from worldwide journey now not must quarantine for 14 days if it’s been over two weeks since their second dose and their vaccines are permitted by Well being Canada. 1:58

Canadians reserving cruises additionally will not have the ability to get COVID-19 medical protection at the moment, Firestone stated, as a result of the federal government presently advises Canadians to keep away from all cruise-ship journey outdoors the nation.  

“In the event you got here down with COVID on that cruise ship, you’re screwed,” he stated. 

New flight guidelines

If travellers do must cancel their journey plans, Air Canada, WestJet and Air Transat are every providing to waive their change charge for flights bought on or earlier than July 31. 

Air Canada additionally says that, till additional discover, clients can cancel their bookings and switch the total worth to a journey voucher which by no means expires. 

On high of that, the airline says that if it cancels a flight for any purpose and might’t rebook a passenger on one other flight departing inside three hours of the unique departure time, clients can request a refund. 

Final 12 months, Air Canada, WestJet, Air Transat and Sunwing sparked buyer fury once they refused to supply refunds for flights cancelled throughout the pandemic. The airways have since modified their tune and have begun doling out refunds to affected clients. 

Air passengers might not have to fret about combating for refunds as soon as proposed Canadian Transportation Company (CTA) laws go into impact.

The proposed guidelines require airways to offer passengers with refunds in the event that they cancel a flight for causes outdoors of their management — resembling a pandemic — and might’t make sure the passengers full their itinerary inside an inexpensive time.

At present, Canada’s Air Passenger Safety Laws solely mandate that airways present refunds for flights cancelled for causes inside their management.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed that these minimal obligations are inadequate,” the CTA stated in a press release. “Amid the following collapse of worldwide air journey, most passengers couldn’t be rebooked and hundreds had been overlooked of pocket for the price of tickets they might not use.”

The CTA stated it plans to finalize the extra stringent refund laws by fall.

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