LILLEY: What are the quarantine rules? An explainer on a confusing topic

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To quarantine, or not to quarantine….

It’s not a rhetorical question anymore, the rules in Canada are changing and whether you have to quarantine at home, in a hotel or at all can be confusing. Are you double vaxxed? Do you have the right vaccine?

The rules can be confusing. I mean, we’ve been told for months that anyone entering Canada by air had to stay at some pretty crappy hotels chosen for us by the government. Brown bags with brown bananas and stale sandwiches were the order of the day at those places.

Then we found out that more than 88,000 people were exempted by the federal government from staying in those hotels. Turns out that included Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who stayed at some fancy digs in Ottawa before being sprung to go home and hold news conferences on the front lawn.

So, what are the rules for quarantine and who do they apply to? That’s what I’ll try to answer here.

When do the rules change for double vaccinated Canadians?

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You may have heard that if you are double vaccinated then you won’t need to stay at a hotel, or quarantine at all as of July 5 but if you are booking travel to return to Canada, don’t do it until July 6. While the government says the rules change on July 5, they don’t take effect until 11:59 ET. That leaves about two hours for flights to land in Calgary on the 5th and three hours in Vancouver but if you land in Toronto at 9pm on July 5 then you could end up in a hotel and at home for two weeks.

What about the kids?

Travelling with kids, especially young ones, then be prepared to keep them at home for two weeks. Vaccines are only approved for those 12 and over in Canada and to skip the quarantine, you need to have both shots. If you are travelling with a 9-year-old they won’t have had any vaccines and will need to quarantine at home for two weeks. Same with a 12-year-old with just one shot, they won’t be considered fully vaccinated and will still need to quarantine.

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That doesn’t mean they must be locked in a room in the basement with meals pushed through a slot in the door, but they won’t be able to leave the house for two weeks.

It’s ok, I was vaccinated overseas!

Plenty of people have been vaccinated outside of Canada but the thing you need to make sure of is that you have had one of the vaccines approved in Canada. To skip the quarantine rules you need to have received two shots of Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca or any combination of those three. Anyone with a single shot of Johnson & Johnson is also considered fully vaccinated.

If you received the Sputnik vaccine from Russia or Sinovac from China, then you aren’t considered vaccinated by the Canadian government and will still need to quarantine when you arrive.

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How do I prove that I was vaccinated outside of the country?

It is your responsibility to prove that you have been vaccinated when you enter Canada. That proof must be provided in English or French or have a certified translation that you can present to customs officers. You will also be asked to upload that information to the ArriveCan app.

What do I need to do if I need to quarantine?

You need to be able to prove to border officials that you have a place to stay and access to the necessities of life when you enter Canada. That also means being able to stay away from others who did not travel.

When does my quarantine end?

It ends 14 days after you enter Canada provided you’ve had two negative tests.

Can I have visitors while in quarantine?

The only visitors you should expect or accept are border officials or police who may show up to check that you are following the rules.

Can I hold a news conference on the front lawn during quarantine?

This is probably a bad idea but since the prime minister is doing it, it will be hard for officials to say no but don’t expect the media to show up.

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