The spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in Canada and the rest of the world isn’t stopping Canadians from travelling this year.
Across the country, snowbirds are preparing to take flight.
Global Affairs Canada has recommended that Canadians avoid non-essential travel outside of the country, but international travel is still allowed. If you’re considering flying south for the winter, here’s what restrictions await in some of the most popular vacation destinations for Canadians.
Restrictions: Despite clocking record-breaking COVID-19 case numbers in recent days, Florida has fully reopened. Wearing masks is still recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but in Florida there is no penalty for refusing to wear one.
Travel: Since August of last year, nearly all foreign travellers to the U.S. have had to be fully vaccinated. As of Dec. 6, 2021, anyone flying to the U.S. is required to show a negative COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or antigen test, which must be taken 24 hours before they board their flight. There is no testing requirement for those travelling through land or sea borders, as long as they can provide proof of vaccination.
Restrictions: Like in Florida, there are no capacity limits or physical distancing requirements in California. On Dec. 15, 2021, the state instituted a mask mandate for all indoor public spaces and workplaces. It’s expected to last until Feb. 15.
Restrictions: Arizona has fully reopened. It did away with all COVID-19 restrictions on March 25, 2021.
Restrictions: Travellers need to mask up and provide proof of vaccination to enter most non-essential services in Hawaii. If they can’t prove they have been vaccinated, they will need to provide a negative test taken within 48 hours to enter indoor spaces like restaurants. Each island has slightly different rules, which can be found here.
Travel: Canadians flying to Hawaii can bypass the state’s mandatory 10-day quarantine if they are fully vaccinated, or if they provide negative COVID-19 test results from laboratories identified by Air Canada or WestJet within 72 hours of their flights’ departures from Canada. Proof of vaccination must be uploaded onto Safe Travels and printed out before leaving for the island.
Restrictions: Mexico uses a four-tier colour-coded system to determine which restrictions are in place in each state. Currently, much of Mexico is open, while certain states have been designated as Code Yellow, which means some public spaces are operating at reduced capacity. More information about that can be found here.
Travel: Mexico has been open for non-essential travel since November of last year. There are no testing requirements to cross directly through the country’s borders, and Mexico dropped its health declaration form requirement on Jan. 1, 2022.
Restrictions: Wearing a mask in public spaces is mandatory in Cuba, including when travelling on buses, in taxis and in privately hired vehicles.
Travel: Vaccinated travellers flying to Cuba do not need to provide negative COVID-19 tests or quarantine themselves, but travellers who are unvaccinated and above the age of 12 are required to show proof of negative tests taken within 72 hours prior to entering the country. Those looking to travel to Cuba must also fill out the D’Viajeros traveller information portal within 72 hours before arriving in the country.
Restrictions: Travellers need to show proof of vaccination in order to enter most non-essential spaces, and there is a curfew from 12 a.m. to 5 a.m. currently in effect. Restaurants and bars are operating at 75-per-cent capacity.
Travel: Vaccinated travellers can visit Costa Rica without need of negative COVID-19 test results or quarantine upon arrival. All travellers, regardless of whether or not they’ve been vaccinated, must fill out HEALTH PASS forms within 72 hours of reaching the country’s border, while unvaccinated travellers must provide proof of travel insurance that could cover the cost of a quarantine.
Restrictions: Travellers need to be vaccinated in order to access most public spaces outside of hotels.
Travel: Vaccinated travellers are not required to present negative COVID-19 test results, but unvaccinated travellers will be asked to show proof of negative tests from within three days of arrival. Regardless of vaccination status, all passengers entering and leaving the country are required to fill out and submit digital forms through the Electronic Ticket Portal either before they arrive or once they reach the border.
Restrictions: The Bahamas suspended mandatory PCR testing requirements for vaccinated travellers on Jan. 7. Unvaccinated travellers must present negative PCR test results from within 72 hours of arriving. Regardless of whether or not someone is vaccinated, anyone staying in the Bahamas for longer than 48 hours must show proof of a negative antigen test.
Travel: Each island in the Bahamas has its own set of restrictions, depending on how many cases of the virus each island has confirmed. Details can be found here.
Editor’s note: This article incorrectly stated that Hawaii had dropped its vaccine mandate. In fact, Hawaii has reinstated its mask mandate for all public indoor locations.
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