Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: Officials in Canada extend land border closure with the US through Aug. 21. Other travel and business restrictions remain in place.

  • Alert Begins: 16 Jul 2020 07:59 PM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 31 Jul 2020 11:59 PM UTC
  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Transport and business disruptions

Officials in Canada have extended the land border closure with the US to all nonessential travel through at least Aug. 21, as part of the country's efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The measure has been in place since March 21, and it does not affect trade or essential business travel.

Additionally, Canadian authorities are maintaining a ban on entry for most nonresident foreign nationals until July 31. However, immediate family members of Canadian citizens or residents can enter Canada, provided they plan to stay for at least 15 days and are able to quarantine for the first 14 days of their stay. Other nonresident foreign nationals allowed to enter must be traveling for essential reasons, and must travel either from the US, or must be exempt from the restrictions by virtue of being temporary workers, international students, diplomats, aircrew members, or French citizens who live in Saint-Pierre and Miquelon.

Persons exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms will not be allowed to board planes to Canada, including Canadian citizens. Canadian authorities have also banned individuals displaying symptoms associated with COVID-19 from domestic air and train travel until further notice. Travelers who are denied boarding will be barred from air or train travel for at least 14 days unless they can produce a medical certificate confirming that any symptoms are unrelated to COVID-19.

All international flights to Canada - except for trade and business flights, as well as flights from the US, Mexico, Caribbean, and St. Pierre and Miquelon - are landing only at Pearson International Airport (YYZ) in Toronto, Vancouver International Airport (YVR), Montreal Trudeau Airport (YUL), and Calgary International Airport (YYC). Canadian citizens and residents returning from abroad must self-quarantine for 14 days. Authorities may order those entering the country to isolate at a hotel if they believe the traveler may put others at risk. All air passengers are required to wear protective face coverings, and all maritime and land passengers are encouraged to do the same. Officials have recommended all residents wear some form of protective face covering whenever social distancing is not possible.

Individual provinces have implemented their own COVID-19 response measures at the regional level:


  • Alberta: Outdoor gatherings of up to 200 people are allowed, while private and indoor gatherings of up to 100 people are allowed. Most business restrictions have been eased, and restaurants and casinos can operate without capacity limits, as long as they ensure social distancing measures.


  • British Columbia: Most businesses and services have been allowed to reopen, including retail stores, restaurants, personal care businesses, museums, libraries, office-based businesses, movie theaters, spas and hotels. Outdoor recreational activities and sports are allowed, and parks and beaches are open.


  • Manitoba: Persons entering the province from elsewhere in Canada are required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival, except those working in essential services, residents who routinely move in and out of the province, or those traveling from Western Canada or Northwestern Ontario. A number of businesses and services, including retail stores, barbershops, museums, libraries, dine-in restaurants, bars, gyms, and pools, have reopened with certain limitations. Gatherings of up to 50 people are allowed indoors and up to 100 people outdoors.


  • New Brunswick: As of July 9, any business that admits patrons where seating is offered for eating, drinking, entertainment, or socialization must maintain a list of names and contact info of those who attend and make the list available to Public Health Inspectors. Since July 3, travelers entering from other regions of Canada must self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, except those from Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Unnecessary travel into New Brunswick is prohibited. Restrictions have been eased in most of the province, enabling personal care businesses, gyms, and places of worship to reopen. Retail stores, museums, and restaurants have also reopened, as have outdoor recreational facilities, such as parks, beaches, and golf courses. Nonurgent medical procedures are allowed. Gatherings of up to 50 people are permitted. As of June 9, all residents must wear protective coverings in indoor areas that are open to the general public.


  • Newfoundland and Labrador: Since July 3, travelers entering from other regions of Canada must self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, except those from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Gatherings of more than 10 people are banned, except for weddings and funerals where 20 people may gather. Retail stores, restaurants, outdoor pools, personal care businesses, movie theaters, gyms, and bars can open with capacity limitations. Outdoor recreational activities, sports, and summer camps are also permitted to resume.


  • Northwest Territories: Authorities are maintaining checkpoints at major interprovincial entry points into the Northwest Territories. Only residents of the Northwest Territories, essential and approved workers, those moving to, studying in, or transiting the region with an approved self-isolation plan will be allowed entry. Most travel into the region by air, land, or water has been banned since March 21. Most business restrictions have been eased.


  • Nova Scotia: From July 3, travelers entering from other regions of Canada must self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, except those from Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island. Also from July 3, organized events can allow up to 200 people indoor and 250 people outdoors. Social gatherings of up to 50 people are allowed. Businesses such as bars and restaurants, swimming pools, campgrounds, personal care businesses, and childcare centers can open, while maintaining social distancing measures. Public beaches, parks, and other outdoor recreational areas are open.


  • Nunavut: Nonresidents remain prohibited from entering the territory, with only persons working in critical services being allowed to enter. Returning residents must self-isolate for 14 days. Retail stores, gyms, pools, restaurants and bars, cinemas, and museums have been allowed to open. Indoor gatherings of up to 10 people and outdoor gatherings of up to 50 people are allowed.


  • Ontario: Beginning July 17, most regions of Ontario will enter Stage 3 of its economic recovery plan. Under Stage 3 indoor gatherings of up to 50 people are allowed while outdoor gatherings of up to 100 people are allowed. Restaurants, bars, and other establishments may open for indoor dining with physical distancing restrictions. Casinos, sport, and recreational facilities may open given they follow proper hygiene and social distancing procedures. Convention centers, meeting, and event spaces, concert halls and cinemas are subject to distancing measures and gathering limits. Durham, Haldimand-Norfolk, Halton, Hamilton, Lambton, Niagra, Peel, Toronto, Windsor-Essex, and York Public Health Regions remain on Stage 2 of its economic recovery plan, under which gatherings of up to 10 people are allowed, and businesses such as personal care businesses, malls, and outdoor recreational facilities can open. Restaurants may offer outdoor dining. Professional services, pet grooming businesses, and construction projects, can also resume. The use of protective face coverings is mandatory on public transport.


  • Prince Edward Island: Events of up to 50 people are allowed, and social gatherings of up to 15 people indoors and 20 people outdoors are also allowed. Most businesses can reopen, following social distancing measures. Starting July 3, travelers entering from other regions of Canada must self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, except those from Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.


  • Quebec: From July 18, masks will be mandatory in all public spaces, those under age 12 and with medical conditions will be exempt from the order. All businesses are allowed to operate, following certain guidelines, except festivals, and major events, and vacation camps. There are no restrictions for travelers entering into the province, and tourism activities may resume. Gatherings at homes must be limited to 10 people; outdoor gatherings of up to 50 people are allowed.


  • Saskatchewan: From July 16, racetracks, rodeos, live performances in restaurants and markets, banquet and conference facilities, and trade shoes can resume. Gatherings of up to 30 people are allowed. A number of types of businesses and facilities have been allowed to reopen, including retail stores, childcare centers, gyms, malls, personal care businesses, farmers' markets, parks, campgrounds, casinos, and drive-in theaters. Restaurants may provide indoor dining at 50-percent capacity. Nonurgent medical procedures are now allowed.


  • Yukon: Travelers from British Columbia, Northwest Territory, and Nunavut can enter without restrictions, while travelers from the rest of Canada are allowed, but must self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Whitehorse. Most businesses have been allowed to reopen, and gatherings of up to 50 people are allowed.


Residents of Canada are being asked to stay at home as much as possible. Officials could amend the orders at short notice, depending on the disease activity in the coming weeks.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by authorities in Canada are similar to actions adopted by other governments globally in recent weeks in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Strictly heed the instructions of authorities. Confirm appointments. Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by law enforcement officers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Back to the COVID-19 Risk Intelligence & Resource Center