As an optimistic Canada is getting ready to reopen its borders to vaccinated non-essential visitors for the first time in 16 months, its airports are getting on board with the new categories. First out to implement a lineup divided into ‘unvaccinated’ and ‘fully-vaccinated’ travelers is Vancouver International. However, more are likely to follow suit.
When the pandemic hit, many sci-fi authors undoubtedly began dreaming up scenarios of antibody passes and immunity checks at airports, train stations, clubs, and the like. However, they probably did not have a chance to put pen to paper before such storylines became reality.
Where once airport queues would divide national or foreign passport holders and elite bonus members and regular mortals, categories at Vancouver International Airport (YVR) now also include unvaccinated or fully-vaccinated travelers. While the signs do not specify which vaccine is referred to, we assume that it is COVID-19, rather than say yellow fever or measles.
— Andrew Aziz (@BearBullTraders) July 21, 2021
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Canada is opening up
One week ago, Canada announced it would be easing travel restrictions for international arrivals. Starting on August 9th, the country’s borders will reopen to non-essential travel for US citizens and permanent residents. The rest of the world can join them in visiting Canada from September 7th, provided that ‘the domestic epidemiologic situation remains favorable’.
However, in both instances, the quarantine-free welcome is only extended to fully vaccinated individuals. All arrivals will still be required to provide a pre-entry negative molecular test to be allowed in.
Nine airports to receive international flights
Currently, Ottawa permits four Canadian airports to receive international arrivals – Vancouver (YVR), Montréal-Trudeau (YUL), Toronto Pearson (YYZ), and Calgary International (YYC). However, when cross-border travel opens up again on August 9th, the government has given the go-ahead for flights to depart and arrive from five more airports.
These are Halifax Stanfield (YHZ), Québec City Jean Lesage (YQB), Ottawa Macdonald–Cartier (YOW), and Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson (YWG). Flag carrier Air Canada has announced 220 daily flights between the US and Canada following the lifting of restrictions.
The travel experience will look different
A spokesperson for Vancouver International Airport suggested to the Daily Hive that other airports across the country would also implement the setup with two separate lines depending on vaccination status.
“We continue to follow the direction and guidance of government as well as provincial and federal health authorities to implement its risk-based and measured approach to reopening our borders for travel and tourism,” the spokesperson told the media outlet, further adding that,
“We recognize that the travel experience now looks different and are committed to keeping our passengers informed about what to expect when travelling through YVR.”
How do you feel about the new categories at Vancouver Airport? Discriminatory against those who will not or cannot get the vaccine, or a normal evolution of streamlining operations along with regulations? Leave a comment below and tell us.