New restrictions for incoming travellers will come into effect on Feb. 22, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Friday — including a fresh hotel quarantine requirement.
“Later today, Minister Hajdu, Blair and Leblanc will announced the details of new testing quarantine and enforcement for everyone flying or driving back to Canada,” Trudeau said.
“These measures will take effect starting Feb. 22.”
Trudeau added that there will be exceptions to these new restrictions, particularly for truckers and healthcare workers travelling into Canada.
“These border measures will help stop the spread of COVID-19 and new variants,” he said.
In late January, Trudeau announced that travellers arriving in the country will have to take a mandatory PCR coronavirus test. While they await the results of that test, they will be forced to quarantine at a hotel for up-to three days — on their own dime.
Trudeau had previously said that the cost for this hotel stay is “expected to be more than $2,000.”
“Those with negative test results will then be able to quarantine at home under significantly increased surveillance and enforcement,” Trudeau said at the time.
“Those with positive tests will be immediately required to quarantine in designated government facilities to make sure they’re not carrying variants of potential concern.”
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has said that the federal government is turning to private security firms to help enforce the 14-day mandatory quarantine and conduct in-person compliance visits.
Contracts totalling $2 million have been awarded to G4S Secure Solutions (Canada) Ltd., GardaWorld and Paladin Risk Solutions, according to PHAC. The Canadian Corps of Commissionaires, a non-profit that hires Canadian Armed Forces veterans and retired RCMP officers, has also been tapped to help with in-person visits.
The new restrictions come in addition to the mandatory 14 day quarantine people arriving in Canada have been required to undertake for almost a year now, as well as fresh restrictions for travellers arriving at Canada’s land borders.
Travellers arriving at Canada’s land border will soon be required to present a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of their arrival.
While Canada can’t technically turn away its citizens who don’t arrive equipped with a negative test, Trudeau said on Tuesday that the government has other tools at its disposal to ensure compliance. He said failure to present such a test could result in “severe penalties,” including fines of up to $3,000 per person.
Trudeau also said the government will be implementing new measures to ensure “extensive follow up by Health Canada” to ensure they are getting tested and properly quarantining.
The government has also taken steps to make it harder for Canadians to access sunny vacation destinations. In late January, Trudeau said Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing and Air Transat have all agreed to cancel air services to “all Caribbean destinations and Mexico,” starting Sunday.
The cancellations will continue until April 30.
Source: Global News