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Please stay home - avoid non-essential travel to Canada

I've noticed on this Travel Forum suggestions for planning travel to Canada in lieu of cancelled trips abroad due to the COVID-19 virus. Do you really want to chance adding to the immense healthcare challenges during a pandemic that has spread over several continents? I'm here to suggest that you please stay home for the time being!

As a fellow traveller (and Canadian who lives in a province with confirmed cases of this contagious virus), why would you even think that it would be a good idea for family travel from the USA to Canada at this time?

Please know that, to date, all of the confirmed COVID-19 cases in my province are travel-related.
For example, travellers had returned from the United States and other countries, and not just on cruise ships.
A two-year-old toddler in Calgary tested positive for the virus days after returning from Florida (and an Ontario baby has also tested positive).
An Alberta hotel worker at a famous resort in the Canadian Rockies tested positive and is now in self-isolation.
Even the 44-year-old wife of Canada's Prime Minister is quarantined after returning home with virus symptoms following a high profile event in London UK a week earlier.
These are but a few of the examples mentioned in our daily Canadian updates. However, calls to our Health Link 24/7 phone lines have multiplied since early March.

Alberta's Chief Medical Officer of Health has advised NO non-essential travel for Canadians outside of Canada. Those who do travel across the border or internationally are to be prepared to self-isolate for 14 days upon their return. Many Canadian families are cancelling Spring Break travel and staying home --- airlines are busy dealing with cancelling flights and staff reductions. Travel options may become more limited (and some store shelves in Canada also have no toilet paper!).

Please refer to official health sources for up to date information on Canada.

https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories

https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.html

Practice social distancing and help contain the virus spread so that we can all travel safely in the future. Be healthy everyone!

UPDATE 16 MARCH 2020: Since I first posted a few days ago, the Government of Canada is implementing new travel and international airport measures in response to COVID-19 effective Wednesday, 18 March 2020.
The details may be found in the following news release:

https://www.canada.ca/en/transport-canada/news/2020/03/new-measures-for-covid-19-response.html

UPDATE 18 MARCH 2020: It's official - no recreational and tourism travel across the US-Canada border.
“Travellers will no longer be permitted to cross the border for recreation and tourism,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who finalized the agreement in a phone call earlier in the day with President Donald Trump.

Also, Parks Canada has closed visitor services in all of Canada's national parks and heritage sites.
Air Canada, WestJet and VIA Rail have cancelled and/or reduced passenger transportation.

UPDATE 7 APRIL 2020: Destination Canada links below for future travel plans to Canada.
Sadly, there have been thousands of hospitality industry layoffs in Canada, as well as business closures. Please stay home and be well!

https://caen-keepexploring.canada.travel/covid-19-traveller-guidance

Posted by
1036 posts

I agree with Mardan. Now is not the time to travel. We all can postpone travel until we have a better understanding on where this virus is going. I hope we can adopt the slogan “do no harm.”

Posted by
5308 posts

Agreed. This is the time to hunker, not to travel.

Posted by
1039 posts

Thank you, Mardan.
I was thinking the same, but hadn't figured out how to word it yet.
Please: everyone, in every country...just stay in your own country for now.
We absolutely have to " Flatten the Curve" of this pandemic as soon as possible.

No one "needs" a vacation, no matter what anyone thinks.
Stay home.
Garden, read, learn a new language, knit, do some crafts or woodworking, clean out cupboards.
Anything except strain the resources of countries not your own!

Posted by
74 posts

Agree with yosemite1, et al. We just cancelled our Europe trip. Disappointing but the right thing to do all around.

Posted by
894 posts

I agree 100% and find it difficult to believe others don’t get “ it”! Stay home to protect the the vulnerable and the elderly.

Rick Steves canceled his personal trip to Turkey.

Posted by
73 posts

I have to agree with the OP because if we are to truly practice Social Distancing doesn't postponing non essential travel have to part of it?

Posted by
1869 posts

Mardan,
Thank you for sharing this. I agree. We live in the epicenter (Seattle) and are hunkering down. We too are doing our part to avoid non-essential travel. We have canceled our yearly trip to Maui. It is what it is.

Good health to you and others as well!

Posted by
59 posts

Mardan,

Thank you for your articulate post. Thank you also to Janis, yosemite1 and others who have helped on this forum to clearly and courageously communicate some of the issues people should consider when deciding whether travel during the Coronavirus outbreak is a good idea. I agree that staying home at this point is the best option, and I look forward to when we can all travel again. We are all in this together!

Posted by
1036 posts

Sharon,

Thank so much. Those of us that have been vocal about not traveling have taken some heat from those who wanted to continue traveling.

Here is an excerpt from an article that should serve as a warning to all of us:

"We now know that asymptomatic transmission likely [plays] an important role in spreading this virus," said Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.
Osterholm added that it's "absolutely clear" that asymptomatic infection "surely can fuel a pandemic like this in a way that's going to make it very difficult to control."

In other words, this virus is being spread, not only by people who have symptoms, but by those who have no symptoms at all. Very scary.

Posted by
1094 posts

Get the Arts and Culture app and open up the virtual tours to a host of famous museums like d'Orsay in Paris, Uffizi in Florence, the British Museum in London, the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace at Versailles, the Guggenheim in NY, and many others, even a virtual tour of the Opera Garnier in Paris and the Chagall ceiling. We've been to many across Europe but the virtual tours and close ups of the famous art works are almost like being there. And it's a lot cheaper and there's no fears about a virus.

Posted by
395 posts

I agree - stay put. Binge watch your favourite series, read a great book - or 10, go for lots of walks/hikes/snowshoe treks. Learn a new skill - lots of youtube videos on "how to..." do almost anything. You might feel you are ok to get sick, but your neighbour, friend, or family member might be a different matter.

Posted by
2388 posts

I absolutely agree with Marden! Stay home. Personally, I've finally found some time to get back into my sewing room. Social distancing should allow me to get a lot of quilting done. Do the right thing and always look on the bright side!

Posted by
186 posts

I wish the official announcements would spell out what "non-essential" travel means. They shouldn't have to, of course, but a lot of people seem to think that weddings, birthdays, the "trip of a lifetime," etc. are "essential." Even funerals are, sadly, not "essential."

I was just mulling this over and remembered that I missed my best friend's wedding, back in California, b/c I was living (by my own choice) overseas. This was the 1980s, and airfare wasn't so cheap as it is now. So – I missed the wedding! An American friend couldn't attend her dad's funeral in Boston, b/c she also couldn't afford it. Huge disappointments, but that's life. We survived.

Thank you for your post, Mardan. Sometimes it's easy to forget that real people live in these appealing destinations, including some who are immunocompromised, pregnant, elderly, etc. and do not WANT our "tourist dollars" at the cost of infection or adding to the burden on their health-care systems.

Posted by
1869 posts

Thanks Sharon for your support. I PM'd you. Thanks Yosemite1 for being vocal as we work collectively to provide accurate information. Thanks also for sharing the info about asymptomatic cases. It's happening. I shared a Seattle case on another thread. The young woman contracted the virus from someone who was asymptomatic. In fact about 40% that were exposed at a gathering were infected. It's highly contagious. Stay safe.

Posted by
1039 posts

We are just closing Canadian Borders now to everyone except returning Canadian citizens and , for now, US citizens.

Posted by
245 posts

and , for now, US citizens.

I wonder how long that will last. My guess is a week, tops.

Posted by
325 posts

The US-Canada border closes to all non-essential travel i.e. recreation, tourism, and cross-border shopping for at least 30 days.

“Travellers will no longer be permitted to cross the border for recreation and tourism,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who finalized the agreement in a phone call earlier in the day with President Donald Trump. (Wednesday 18 March 2020)

Posted by
5017 posts

I wonder how long that will last. My guess is a week, tops.

It seems a week is now just two days in Pandemic Time.

Posted by
3118 posts

Waiting for the airlines to cancel flights to Canada. Delta hasn’t canceled our flights or even earlier flights between LGA and YUL.

Posted by
2401 posts

"Waiting for the airlines to cancel flights to Canada. Delta hasn’t canceled our flights or even earlier flights between LGA and YUL."

Delta is still flying to Canada, AFAIK. The problem, if you aren't a Canadian citizen, or legal resident, or if you aren't travelling for essential business, is that you aren't permitted to enter the country at this time. And if you are permitted entry, you MUST self isolate for 14 days starting the moment you leave the airport.

So the airlines may not cancel the flights, but you may need to cancel your booking.