As vaccinations in the U.S. top an average of 3 million doses per day, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is beginning to change their guidelines for people who’ve received their doses. This includes allowing vaccinated people to meet at home in groups without masks or visit unvaccinated people from the same household. But despite the progress towards getting back to normal life, the CDC is now recommending that Americans avoid going to Canada, even if they’ve been fully vaccinated. Read on to see why the agency is advising against heading north of the border, and for more on what you should still stay away from after you’re immunized, check out Dr. Fauci Just Said to Avoid This One Place, Even If You’re Vaccinated.
According to an update posted to the CDC’S travel notices page on April 2, the agency has listed Canada as a Level 4 health risk due to the infection high rate of more than 100 new cases per 100,000 people over the past 28 days. The advisory warns: “Because of the current situation in Canada, even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants and should avoid all travel to Canada.”
While the agency strongly advises against anyone traveling to the U.S.’s northern neighbor for the time being, the CDC recommends that anyone who must go should try to be fully vaccinated before traveling. While en route and after you arrive, the agency also suggests that “all travelers should wear a mask, stay six feet from others, avoid crowds, and wash their hands,” reminding that masks are required on all “planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations.”
The CDC also stresses that even fully vaccinated travelers re-entering the United States must produce a negative COVID test in the three days leading up to their travel date. Those who are not vaccinated are required to produce another negative test three to five days after they return and to self-quarantine for a full week once back in the U.S. And for more on what you need to hold off on after you get your shots, check out The CDC Says Don’t Do This Until 4 Weeks After Getting Vaccinated.
The move comes as Canada is beginning to experience surges in many cities across the country that health officials believe are being driven by the spread of contagious new variants, NPR reports. Officials have also struggled with the rollout of vaccines, with Health Canada reporting that only 1.76 percent of the population was fully vaccinated as of April 6.
In response to rising infection rates, officials in Ontario announced new stay-at-home orders for the province on April 7, which included closing down schools for in-person learning again in Toronto, the largest city in the country. “The spread of COVID-19 has never been greater in Toronto, with variants of concern increasing both the risk of transmission and the risk of serious illness or death,” officials said in a press release. “Stronger public health measures are required to reverse the surge of infection that the province currently faces.”
Even though the CDC is still urging all Americans to hold off on unnecessary trips, the agency changed its guidance for those who are fully vaccinated on April 2, calling domestic travel “low risk to themselves.” And while travelers were still required to wear masks and practice typical precautions, the update also removed the recommendation for anyone who was fully vaccinated to quarantine or take a COVID test upon arrival at their destination or return home.
“With millions of Americans getting vaccinated every day, it is important to update the public on the latest science about what fully vaccinated people can do safely, now including guidance on safe travel,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, said in a statement. “We continue to encourage every American to get vaccinated as soon as it’s their turn, so we can begin to safely take steps back to our everyday lives. Vaccines can help us return to the things we love about life, so we encourage every American to get vaccinated as soon as they have the opportunity.” And for more on how you can keep yourself safe, check out The CDC Says If You See This at a Restaurant, Don’t Go Inside.