The Canadian government has officially dropped the COVID-19 testing requirement for citizens returning to the country within 72 hours, beginning on Nov. 30.
The announcement came on Friday, Nov. 19, Canada's government saying that starting on Nov. 30, "fully vaccinated individuals with right of entry to Canada who depart and re-enter the country within 72 hours of leaving Canada will not have to present a pre-entry molecular test. This exemption is only for trips originating in Canada taken by fully vaccinated Canadian citizens, permanent residents or individuals registered under the Indian Act, who depart and re-enter by land or by air and can demonstrate that they have been away from Canada for less than 72 hours."
Canadian travelers who remain outside of the country for longer than three days will still need to take a molecular test within 72 hours of reentry. American travelers and their children over five years of age, however, will still need to take a molecular test within three days before entering the country. The government there has said it is reviewing entry requirements for American travelers.
“We're taking a phased approach to the easing of border measures,” said Theresa Tam, the Canadian chief public health officer, as quoted by the CBC.
Generally, Americans traveling to Canada will need to secure that negative test, enter their passport information into the ArriveCAN smartphone app, and provide proof of vaccination, along with a potential quarantine plan, if they become exposed while in the country.
There are no testing requirements for vaccinated Canadians entering the United States.
The announcement by the Canadian government came after Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., indicated it would be likely. Hoeven was in Grand Forks on Friday, to receive a Grand Forks International Airport update, followed by an event at UND.
Hoeven told Ryan Riesinger, the airport’s executive director, he had met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier that week, and said the two countries should reciprocate on border requirements. Trudeau, Hoeven said, did not commit to dropping the requirement at that meeting, but the announcement was made later.
That day at the Grand Forks airport, Manitoba license plates infrequently dotted the parking lot, a sign that some Canadian travelers are returning to the region. Riesinger highlighted the importance of Canadian air travelers at GFK, and noted that the population center of Winnipeg, just two hours away, is greater than the state of North Dakota.
“It's important to note, and a lot of people forget, that historically as many as 40% of all of our travelers on an annual basis were Canadian,” Riesinger said.