Some exceptions to new COVID-19 test requirement at land borders, but details to be announced

© Rob Gurdebeke/The Canadian Press Canadian and American flags fly near the Windsor-Detroit Ambassador Bridge.

As of next week, people entering Canada through land borders such as the Ambassador Bridge will have to present a recent negative COVID-19 test.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the new rule would apply to non-essential travellers such as returning snowbirds. But the government has yet to provide details on who qualifies for an exception.

“As of Feb.15, when you return to Canada through a land border, you’ll need to show a 72-hour PCR test, just like air travel,” Trudeau said on Tuesday.

A spokesperson for Canada Border Services Agency said that there will be exceptions for commercial truckers, for example, but the details are still being finalized and more information will be released in the coming days.

Windsor is home to Canada’s busiest border crossing, and according to a 2017 report from Workforce WindsorEssex, over 6,100 residents work in the U.S., including many health care workers.

Under the current border rules, people who provide essential services or regularly cross the border to work are exempt from the 14-day quarantine requirement for those entering Canada.

Asked if that could be the case for the testing requirement as well, the spokesperson could not comment but reiterated that more information would be announced shortly.

In his announcement on testing, Trudeau said that Canadians can’t be legally denied entry but those who don’t present a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test from the previous 72 hours could face a fine of up to $3,000.

“What we can do is in cases of no test to show [is] apply a stiff penalty, a fine and demand and ensure a rapid and complete followup to make sure that they are getting tested, that they are being properly quarantined, that they are not putting at risk the safety of other Canadians by returning home without a clear negative test,” Trudeau said.

Source: CBC News