Canada recently announced quarantine requirements on all travelers entering Canada due to COVID-19. Travelers exhibiting or experiencing cough, fever, or difficulty breathing must immediately isolate for 14 days upon arrival. Travelers who do not have a place to isolate will be required to isolate for 14 days in a facility designated by the Canadian government. Travelers not exhibiting symptoms are also required to self-isolate for 14 days immediately upon arrival.
Healthy persons who are “essential to the movement of goods and people” are exempt from the mandatory quarantine. This includes transportation industry workers, workers directly involved in moving goods across the border, and workers who commute across the border for their employment.
This decision comes after two additional rounds of border restrictions are still in place. Canada originally announced on March 16, 2020 that the country was closing its borders to all travelers except Canadian citizens, U.S. citizens, and persons involved in the flow of goods and trade across the border. Then on March 20, 2020, the U.S. and Canada announced that all “non-essential” travel across the border would be prohibited. Travel for purposes of tourism and social visits are, for the time being, not possible. Travel for employment, necessary business travel, and travel-related to supply chains and flow of goods across the border is still permitted, although now potentially subject to the mandatory 14-day quarantine.
The latest border restrictions present two key takeaways. First, given the somewhat vague details of what business travelers are “essential to the movement of goods and people,” some legitimate business travelers to Canada might find themselves subject to the mandatory 14-day quarantine. Anyone planning business travel to Canada should consider how essential such travel is to their business, and whether the travel might be postponed. Second, travel across the border has been significantly restricted multiple times recently. Further restrictions, and a more significant border shutdown, are conceivable, so anyone planning to travel to Canada right now must consider the possibility that returning home may take longer and be more difficult than initially planned.