Canada’s COVID-19 border restrictions are expected to expire on September 30, with no plans to renew them.
While nothing has been officially announced, Global News has learned from multiple government sources that the Liberal government has been making plans to ease border restrictions and make the ArriveCAN app optional for travelers. Some people in the travel industry are thrilled.
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James Bogos, president and CEO of Regina Airport, said they are calling for these restrictions to be dropped for a while.
“Virtually anyone concerned with what I call the travel economy has been asking the federal government for several months to remove the final travel restrictions,” Bogoch said.
Bogusz added that the ArriveCAN implementation has been very controversial.
“We hear it from Saskatchewans who have used the app, some have succeeded, some don’t, and some frankly don’t want to use a piece of software to get back across the border. They’re used to using their passports.”
Final confirmation from the government is still awaited, but Bogoch said he is looking forward to some changes.
“This is welcome news for YQR, and welcome news for anyone in the industry. We have been championing this for some time.”
He added that he hoped the mandates would be dropped, as well as the mandatory concealment.
“Canada really lags behind the US in terms of passenger volume recovery. You have to remember that the US in September, they already had a few days, through their government checkpoints (TSA), actually saw above pre-pandemic levels of 2019, while here in Canada in January we were at a paltry 30 percent to pre-pandemic levels.”
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He noted that over the summer, Canada had seen up to 80 percent of pre-pandemic levels, but noted that we’re far from where the industry wants to be, and that the airport is helping drive southern Saskatchewan’s economy.
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Global News went to Saskatoon Airport to get passengers’ thoughts on easing restrictions. Everyone he spoke to said it was a good idea.
“We just got back from a trip. I went through the arrivals area in Canada, and figuring it out was kind of complicated,” said Ron Mathers.
He added that his information did not appear correctly on the app, and he expects things to be easier for airport staff, saying there will be less backlog.
Dorothy Badger said she’s never had a problem with the restrictions, but said other people must have found it annoying.
“There’s probably a lot of people traveling,” Badger said.
She noted that mandatory masking would be something to keep up with.
Adrian Nynaber said he believes the pandemic is over, and that we need to get on with our lives.
He noted that the ArriveCAN implementation may be difficult for some people.
“For people who aren’t technically savvy, that’s a huge problem in terms of really getting things done.”
He added that these restrictions hit tourism hard.
– with files from Aaron D’Andrea
© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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