Canada to drop COVID mandates at border Sept. 30

A sign welcomes motorists to the Canadian province of Quebec just over the U.S. border. (News photo — Andy Flynn)

TORONTO (AP) — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has signed off on Canada dropping the vaccine requirement for people entering the country at the end of September, an official familiar with the matter told The Associated Press on Thursday, Sept. 22.

Canada, like the United States, requires foreign nationals to be vaccinated when entering the country. No change in the mandate is expected in the U.S. in the near term.

Unvaccinated foreign travelers who are allowed to enter Canada are currently subject to mandatory arrival tests and a 14-day quarantine.

The official said that Trudeau has agreed to let a cabinet order enforcing mandatory COVID-19 vaccination requirements at the border expire Sept. 30. The official said earlier this week the prime minister need to give final sign off. The official spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

Trudeau’s Liberal government is still deciding whether to maintain the requirement for passengers to wear face masks on trains and airplanes.

Unvaccinated professional athletes like major league baseball players would be allowed to play in Toronto in the playoffs should the Blue Jays make the postseason. They currently are not allowed to cross the border into Canada.

The Globe and Mail earlier this week reported that Canada would also no longer require people to register with the ArriveCAN app and would stop random testing of travelers at the border.

Assemblyman Billy Jones (D-Chateaugay Lake) issued a statement Friday, Sept. 23 applauding the changes at the border:

“The announcement that Canada will ease their border restrictions is a step towards the return to normalcy. This is welcomed news after years of advocating for the border to reopen. Dropping the ArriveCAN requirement and lifting the vaccination mandate starting at the end of the month will not only reconnect loved ones but will also help our local economy and tourism right at the peak of the Fall season.”

Jones stressed that border crossing have been down, and the changes would result in more Canadian day-trippers visiting New York state.

“As the co-chair of the Council of State Governments US-Canada Relations Committee, I’ve been working with leaders on both sides of the border to lift these restrictions so that we can once again be united with our northern neighbors,” Jones wrote. “Border communities like the North Country have a unique relationship with Canadians and we’ve all been feeling the negative ramifications of the partial border closure. I have been advocating for these restrictions to be lifted for what seems like forever now and I am glad to welcome our Canadian neighbors once again to the North Country with open arms.”

(Lake Placid News Editor Andy Flynn contributed to this report.)

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