An unprecedented trip in times of Covid-19: After almost a year and a half of closure due to the pandemic, the first vaccinated Americans were able to cross the land border between the United States and Canada on Monday. “We are very happy to be back,” exclaims, all smiles, Vicki Poulin at the wheel.
“I thought there would be more cars on the road, but to my surprise the trip went very well,” says this Queensbury, New York resident, who had not set foot in Quebec since March 2020, when the border, the most long of the world – closed for non-essential travel due to the pandemic.
At the Lacolle border post in the east of the country, this one-way reopening of the border does not attract crowds. The first travelers only wait a few minutes to enter Canadian soil: the time to present proof of vaccination, which dates back at least 14 days, and the result of a negative test, documents required to enter.
The reopening of the border, decided on July 19 by the Justin Trudeau government, comes at a time when the United States and Canada are facing a new spike in Covid-19 cases caused by the highly contagious Delta variant.
South of the border, half the population is fully vaccinated against Covid-19. In Canada, the rates are also very high and even higher, according to public health authorities, 81% of Canadians have received their first dose and 68% are fully immunized.
“I left at one in the morning and there was no one on the road. No need to brake! »Richard Antaki, a very happy New Yorker, is delighted to be back in Canada to visit friends.
“It has been 17 months since I came to Montreal and I usually come ten times a year. I love Montreal. I’ve lived here for ten years ”, says the octogenarian who already plans to return in September.
Canada, which has completely closed its borders to tourists since the start of the pandemic, has planned for its part to allow vaccinated travelers from around the world to return as of September 7, if the epidemiological situation “remains favorable.” – so the United States has just advised its nationals not to travel to France.