CDC, State Department Lower Canada Travel Warning Following Border Opening
The United States Department of State and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention each lowered their travel advisories for Canada to a "Level 2" this week as the country reopened its border to vaccinated American tourists.
The State Department lowered its travel advisory for Canada, now advises Americans to "Exercise increased caution in Canada due to COVID-19."
The CDC also updated its COVID-19 travel warning, indicating there was only a "moderate" level of transmission in the country. The agency said travelers should be fully vaccinated before crossing the border, noting "Unvaccinated travelers who are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should avoid nonessential travel to Canada."
In April, the agency classified the country as a "Level 4," indicating there was "a very high level of COVID-19."
Canada started welcoming fully-vaccinated American travelers on Monday, requiring them to get tested before traveling, carry paper copies of their vaccination records, and upload their documents to the ArriveCAN app or website.
Canada expects to expand its border rules to fully-vaccinated travelers from other countries on Sept. 7.
However, the U.S. has extended the land border closure between the country, Canada, and Mexico for non-essential travel until at least Aug. 21. The closure does not apply to U.S. citizens coming back into the country after traveling abroad to Mexico or Canada.
In Canada, 72.6% of the population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 63.1% are fully vaccinated, according to data from Reuters, which is tracking the vaccine rollout around the world.
In Quebec, officials plan to implement a digital vaccine passport on Sept. 1 in places like bars and restaurants. Quebec's health minister, Christian Dubé, told the CBC he was in talks to potentially sync the health pass with Canada's ArriveCan app so visitors from other provinces and from outside the country could use it.
"Taking into account the increase in cases, the fall coming up with the back to school and back to work and the expected prevalence of the delta variant, the conditions are there to deploy the vaccination passport," Dubé said.
Other destinations have implemented similar digital vaccine passports, including France, which requires it to access restaurants and popular tourist sites, and New York City, which will require it for activities like indoor dining.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.