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Can Canadians Travel Safely & What Precautions They Should Take When Arriving Back To Canada During COVID-19

December 15, 2020

COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving situation. Many countries have introduced measures that significantly affect how we live, work, and travel. 


As the Canadian weather turns bitterly cold and with the holiday season in full swing, Canadians more than ever want to hop on a plane somewhere warm or to visit loved ones.  


Many Canadians are now wondering; is it safe to travel, can we even travel, and what happens when we get home?


It is no surprise that our typical concerns over safety in travel have shifted in 2020. 


We are less concerned whether it is safe to travel alone or not to some “unsafe” destination, and fully aware and anxious over mask-wearing, social distancing and hygiene practices on a plane.


But now as our priorities in travel change with the time of year, it is inevitable to start wondering about the next steps, and if we can safely leave our homes and travel and how to come back to our lives using the right precautions.


Topics of Discussion:

  • Is it safe to travel outside of Canada?
  • Is it safe to travel by plane?
  • Health and safety tips for travel during COVID
  • What will happen when I come back to Canada from abroad?



Is it safe to travel outside of Canada?


If you are planning a trip to visit a family member, take a dip in the sea or even travel abroad for work, please note that Canadians are currently allowed to fly to destinations around the world, but be aware of what is expected of you when your enter another country you could face a few extra challenges, such as:



When it comes to international travel, different places around the world will have their own rules and safety measures when it comes to regulating the spread of COVID-19 and you will be required to comply with their safety protocols upon entering.


Is it safe to travel by plane?

When people think of catching COVID-19 while they travel, a plane trip where travellers cannot significantly physically distance is one of the major travel and safety concerns. 


Other things like the airflow on airplanes and the cleanliness of our tray tables are of utmost concern during these times.


While there are risks associated with flying due to the coronavirus, it may be safer than you think.


For starters, the air quality on a commercial airliner is actually quite high, with the air volume in the cabin is completely refreshed every two to four minutes. Air flows into the cabin vertically — it enters from overhead vents and is sent downward in a circular motion, exiting at floor level. Once air leaves the cabin, about half is dumped outside, and the rest is sent through HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters, similar to those used in hospitals, before being mixed with fresh outside air and entering the cabin again.


Early in the coronavirus pandemic, a man flew from Wuhan to Toronto with a dry cough and subsequently tested positive for COVID-19. He wore a mask during the flight, and no other passengers were infected. 


As for social distancing, most airlines are blocking the middle seat, which makes it safer to travel. That is why prior to taking a trip and flying, it would be best to do proper research and fly only with those airlines blocking the middle seat. 


Always check with the airlines you are thinking of travelling with and read up on their updated health and safety standards, this way you will be prepared.


Health and safety tips for travel during COVID


Whether it is walking around in your neighbourhood or on a resort week trip to your favourite island in the Caribbean, it is always important to take the necessary health and safety measures wherever you are going.


  • Get a COVID-19 test before you go on any trip 
  • Always wear a mask, on a plane, any public space, taxi etc 
  • Wash your hands regularly and avoid touching face, eyes, and nose until your hands have been thoroughly washed
  • Carry your own hand sanitizer and cleaning wipes and make sure to routinely clean frequently-touched surfaces
  • Wear protective gloves
  • Maintain social distance, keep at least two metres away from others
  • Avoid large gatherings

 

Follow all the rules. If the country you are visiting has specific rules and regulations regarding COVID-19, respect and follow them. 


The safety precautions in destinations are going to be clear and easy to understand, just make sure to pay attention to the signs and notices placed in public areas. If you have any uncertainties regarding rules and regulations, do your research prior and ask questions when you arrive at your destination. 


The most important thing is that you know what they are and adhere to them.


What will happen when I come back to Canada from abroad?


The Government of Canada is still advising against non-essential travel outside Canada, but if you have been living abroad, or you had to travel for essential reasons you may be wondering what will happen when you arrive back in Canada.


You must keep in mind that the COVID-19 pandemic situation is changing constantly, and the Canadian government is responding swiftly so it is best to check official sources before making decisions about travel and how it can affect you when you get back to Canada. This includes federal as well as provincial and territorial public health authorities.


Below are measures that may be expected of you once you enter Canada, starting at the airport, and when you arrive at your home:



  • You can expect changes to the processes for deplaning and baggage reclaim. For example, the baggage carousels may be adjusted to help with social distancing, and baggage might be spaced.


  • Check the website for your destination airport to see what measures are in place to keep you safe and to familiarize yourself with new routines. Note that there may be delays because of these emergency measures.


  • Travellers from abroad are required to isolate for fourteen days on returning to Canada, even if they have no symptoms.


  • If you get COVID-19 symptoms while you are under quarantine, you will need to stay isolated for another fourteen days from when your symptoms first appeared.


For the latest updates, look to The Government of Canada’s advice for returning travellers.


Travel is possible when done responsibly. Follow the rules and wear a mask. Having the ability to travel right now is a luxury and it is more important than ever to be responsible. Stay safe while abroad and respect the rules when you arrive back in Canada.

Want to learn how to keep yourself and your family safe during the COVID-19 pandemic? Click here to get the free ebook.

*This article is not meant to be taken as medical advice. Please follow the advice of your local health authorities when making decisions about your own health and the people around you.
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