The Minister of Transport, Omar Alghabra has announced Cruise ships will be banned from entering Canadian waters for another year in bid to reduce the spread of the virus.
The new restriction has been extended until February 28, 2022 and applies to adventure-seeking pleasure craft, passenger vessels carrying more than 12 people and cruise vessels carrying 100 or more people.
The move expands an order issued back in March 2020 that barred vessels with more than 500 passengers.
The order bans cruise ships from entering Arctic coastal waters, including the Labrador Coast, Nunatsiavut and Nunavik, according to a news release from the Canadian government.
“Today, I announced a 1-year ban on pleasure craft in Canadian Arctic waters and cruise vessels in all Canadian waters, these prohibitions will protect the most vulnerable among our communities and avoid overwhelming our health care systems,” Said Alghabra on Twitter Thursday.
Essential passenger vessels, such as ferries and water taxis will continue serving the community. Pleasure craft used by local Arctic residents will not be affected by the new restriction either.
Canadian authorities have expressed that cruise ships might jeopardize the efforts to reduce the spread of the new highly-contagious coronavirus strains, first detected in England and South Africa.
According to the Minister, “as Canadians continue to do their part to reduce the spread of COVID-19, our government continues to work hard to ensure Canada’s transportation system remains safe,” and added that barring vessels from entering Canada’s waters was “the right and responsible thing to do.”
But this is not the only drastic restriction announced.
Facing pressure from local authorities to tighten restrictions because travelers who returned from spring break trips last year brought the virus with them, Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau had to also ban all flights to Mexico and the Caribbean for three months starting on Sunday following a new vaccine rollout setback.
Once the restriction takes place, all returning passengers arriving from abroad will have to take a mandatory COVID-19 test upon arrival and quarantine at a government-designated hotel for up to three days at their own expense. According to Trudeau, the cost will be CAD $2,000 per person for 3 days.
If results return positive, travelers will have to afford another 2 weeks at the quarantine hotel.
This package of restrictions is a reminder for citizens to not let their guard down while awaiting for a vaccine that will allow them to freely travel again.
The vaccination rollout has seen several delays after a promising December start. However, Trudeau has affirmed today, Feb. 5, that Canadians should not be concerned about the “noise” regarding the vaccination process because the government will meet their obligations on time.