Canada closed its border to US travelers in March 2020, just as the coronavirus pandemic’s first wave of infections began to flood hospitals and worry government officials around the world. Now, nearly a year-and-a-half later, Canada is opening it back up. The Canadian government officially opened the border today, August 9, to US travelers; however, it’s not the easy-breezy two-way street it used to be.

The US border remains closed to Canadian travelers, so those wanting to come stateside can’t, and you can’t just drive across like before. The US recently extended its border closure through August 21. For one, the border is only open to fully vaccinated US citizens, though unvaccinated children under age 12 are also allowed to travel northward. But that’s not the only restriction. Every traveler will still need a negative COVID test, and each will need to prepare a quarantine plan for when in the country just in case the need arises.

Travelers are also required to upload their travel information, proof of vaccination, and more, to the Canadian government’s ArriveCAN platform 72 hours before arriving in the country. Those who don’t will be turned away. When you do make it across, Canada is telling travelers that they should keep their vaccination card, recently visited locations, and COVID test results on hand. Oh, and don’t forget your passport – that’s required, too.

Closing the border has been difficult, especially for those separated from family friends, along with the border communities that rely on the trade and tourism that crosses it every day. US Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow said in a statement that Canada accounts for a large majority of American’s inbound travelers – 26 percent and billions of dollars. Hopefully, America will reciprocate opening its border to Canadians later this month as it’d be beneficial for both economies.

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