Fully vaccinated travellers will no longer need to quarantine upon arriving in Canada starting July 5.
But a flood of tourists won’t be coming along with the loosened restrictions.
The new measures, announced Monday, only apply to those eligible to enter Canada.
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said foreign nationals travelling to the country on non-essential business will be turned away at the border.
Fully vaccinated Canadians and foreign nationals eligible to travel into the country will still need to take a pre-departure test for COVID-19 as well as a test upon arrival.
Travellers must be asymptomatic upon arrival to skip quarantine, show proof of vaccination upon arrival and have all their travel information submitted within the ArriveCAN app.
The new measures come amid growing pressure from businesses, individuals and American officials to loosen restrictions at the international border.
But Blair revealed Friday the country is extending pandemic-induced border restrictions from June 21 to July 21, deflating the hopes of some that travel between Canada and the U.S. would be more practical throughout the summer.
Instead, Blair and other federal officials emphasized Monday that travellers who are not fully vaccinated will still need to abide by previous quarantine requirements.
The public safety minister told the CBC a day earlier that “finish line” for border restrictions will be reached once 75% of Canadians have been fully vaccinated.
Federal officials did not directly answer why fully vaccinated tourists would not be eligible to travel to Canada.
Instead, Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc said the new measures are among the first efforts to introduce a phased approach to reopening the border.
Meanwhile, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra also revealed that Canada is extending its flight ban on India 30 days to July 21 amid the latter country’s ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases.
Anyone travelling from India to Canada via a third country will need to obtain a negative COVID-19 test result from a third country prior to departing for Canada.
The ban, which was initially introduced April 22, also applied to Pakistan.
But Alghabra confirmed that Canada was lifting the Pakistan flight ban based on public health data from that country. Travellers will be required to obtain a negative COVID-19 PCR test within Pakistan before departing for Canada.