Canada's COVID-19 travel restrictions are coming to an end.
Beginning Oct. 1, there will be no more vaccine or testing requirements, and there will be no enforced masking on planes. For Detroiters, who live just minutes from the border, this marks the end of an era.
“Thanks largely to Canadians who have rolled up their sleeves to get vaccinated, we have reached the point where we can safely lift the sanitary measures at the border," said Jean-Yves Duclos, Canada's minister of health, in a news release. "However, we expect COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses will continue to circulate over the cold months, so I encourage everyone to stay up to date with their COVID-19 vaccination, including booster doses, and exercise individual public health measures. I also thank the dedicated public health officers and front line staff at our land borders and airports who have worked tirelessly to protect the health and safety of people in Canada for the last two years.”
This, of course, has a major impact on Michigan, which has four entrances to Canada: the Ambassador Bridge in Detroit, the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel, the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron and the Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge in the Upper Peninsula.
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What do I need to do to travel to Canada?
The only requirement to cross the border now is to pay a toll – $5.50 to Windsor, and $5 to Detroit if you're using the tunnel (it's a little more expensive if you're using the Ambassador Bridge). Other than that, you're free to come and go as you please, provided you have a valid passport.
The popular Tunnel Bus service to Detroit has not resumed yet, and Transit Windsor said they do not know when it will return.
The public health agency cited high vaccination rates, as well as lower case numbers, hospitalizations and deaths as the reason for the change.
The government has also faced harsh criticism from some residents over its strict COVID-19 restrictions, including truckers that protested on its borders, blocking trade for days.
The United States’ border with Canada first closed on March 21, 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic began. The closure was extended monthly by both governments.
In August 2021, more than a year later, Canada opened its border to fully vaccinated Americans, but everyone passing through had to submit a COVID-19 test. In March 2022, Canada scrapped its test requirement for vaccinated travelers.
Does Canada require COVID-19 vaccination to enter?
No. Effective Oct. 1, 2022, all travelers, regardless of citizenship, will no longer have to:
Submit public health information through the ArriveCAN app or website
Provide proof of vaccination
Undergo pre- or on-arrival testing
Carry out COVID-19-related quarantine or isolation
Monitor and report if they develop signs or symptoms of COVID-19 upon arriving to Canada
Undergo health checks for travel on air and rail, or
Wear masks on planes and trains
Although the masking requirement is being lifted, the government "strongly recommended" all passengers continue to wear high-quality and well-fitted masks.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention currently says Canada has a "high" COVID-19 level and warns people to be up to date with their vaccines before entering the country.
Canada saw 18,718 new COVID cases over the past week and 223 new deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University & Medicine.
Contact Emma Stein: firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @_emmastein.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Canada lifts travel restrictions: What it means for Michigan