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Americans Will Soon Be Able To Go To Their 2nd Most Popular Travel Destination

Traffic enters Canada from the United States at the Peace Arch Border Crossing, in Blaine, Wash., on Oct. 9, 2019. Vaccinated Americans will be able to Canada starting Aug. 9.
Elaine Thompson
Traffic enters Canada from the United States at the Peace Arch Border Crossing, in Blaine, Wash., on Oct. 9, 2019. Vaccinated Americans will be able to Canada starting Aug. 9.

Americans who have been vaccinated for at least 14 days will be able to travel to Canada, their second most popular destination, starting Aug. 9, the Canadian government has announced. Mexico, the most popular travel destination, is already open for travel.

Both Canada and the U.S. closed their borders in March 2020. Now Canada is opening its borders back up — to Americans first, as a preliminary step before opening up the country to all travelers who are vaccinated on Sept. 7.

"At every step, the safety of Canadians will continue to be our top priority," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted Monday night.

Patty Hajdu, Canada's health minister, said in a news release that "with rising vaccination rates and fewer cases in Canada, we can begin to safely ease border measures." Hajdu added that a "gradual approach to reopening will allow our health authorities to monitor the COVID-19 situation here and abroad."

While all travelers will still have to take a pre-arrival test for the coronavirus and will have to post their travel information through the ArriveCAN portal, they will no longer have to quarantine upon arrival. They also will not need to take an additional coronavirus test after arriving unless they are randomly selected to do so.

Travelers will still be required to have proof of their vaccination status, either a digital or paper copy, and a prepared quarantine plan once in the country in case they arrive at the border and it is determined they do not meet the requirements.

The new guidance from Canada also allows unvaccinated children under the age of 12 and dependents of fully vaccinated travelers to be exempt from quarantining upon arrival, but they cannot participate in group activities, including camps or day care centers.

As of now U.S. borders are still closed to Canadian and Mexican travelers. Last month, the Department of Homeland Security tweeted that the U.S. would extend restrictions on nonessential travel until July 21.

Asked in a briefing Monday if the United States would reciprocate on opening its border to Canada, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said, "We are continuing to review our travel restrictions. Any decisions about resuming travel will be guided by our public health and medical experts."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Deepa Shivaram
Deepa Shivaram is a multi-platform political reporter on NPR's Washington Desk.

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