Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is cutting down on non-essential travel and has announced a slew of measures including the suspension of all flights to sunny destinations amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking from the front steps of Rideau Cottage on Friday, Trudeau said that with the challenges that they are currently facing with the COVID-19, both there at home and at abroad, they all agree that now is just not the time to be flying. He also said that by putting in place these tough measures, they can now look forward o a getter time, when they can finally plan those vacations.
Trudeau added that Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing, and Air Transat have all agreed to cancel their air services to all Caribbean destinations and Mexico, starting Sunday. The cancellations shall continue until April 30. He said that they will be making arrangements with their customers who are currently on a trip in these regions to organize their return flights.
Trudeau further announced a new mandatory PCR testing requirement at airports for people who are returning to Canada. He said that while these travelers wait for this COVID-19 test result, they’ll be forced to quarantine for u to three days at a designed hotel on their dime.
Trudeau added that the cost for this is expected to be slightly more than $2000 and said that those with negative test results will then be able to quarantine at home under significantly increased surveillance and enforcement.
And, those with positive results will be immediately required to quarantine in the designated government facilities to make sure that they are not carrying variants of potential concern.
Meanwhile, on Friday the Public Health Agency of Canada said that the federal government is turning to private security firms to help enforce the 14-day mandatory quarantine and conduct in-person compliance visits.
According to PHAC, the contracts totaling $2 million have been awarded to G4S Secure Solutions Ltd, GardaWorld, and Paladin Risk Solutions. The Canadian Corps of Commissionaires, a non-profit that reportedly hires Canadian Armed Forced veterans and retired RCMP officers, has also been tapped to help with the in-person visits.
PHAC spokesperson Tammy Jarbeau said in an email that the trained and designated Screening Officers working under these contracts will begin on-person compliance visits on January 29, 2021, beginning in Toronto and Montreal.
Trudeau’s comments were released weeks after the government urged the Canadians not to take any non-essential trips outside of the country. The new measures are aimed at discouraging travelers from taking non-essential trips outside of the country. More than 6.3 million travelers who have entered Canada since the start of the pandemic were not required to quarantine.
In addition to all the above-mentioned rules, Trudeau announced that the non-essential travelers will have to show a negative test at the land borders too.
Quebec Premier Francois Legault and Ontario Premier Doug Ford have urged Ottawa to impose mandatory testing upon reaching Canada as well.