On Friday, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau moved to suspend all flights to the Caribbean and Mexico as part of a host of new travel restrictions.
Tourists from elsewhere are still permitted to visit the country but they will have to quarantine in a hotel at their own expense. In addition to providing a PCR test before their flight, passengers will also be subject to mandatory PCR testing at the airport for people returning to Canada.
“Travelers will then have to wait for up to three days at an approved hotel for their test results, at their own expense, which is expected to be more than $2000,” Trudeau said to the Associated Press.
“Those with negative test results will then be able to quarantine at home under significantly increased surveillance and enforcement.”
The suspension of flights to the Caribbean and Mexico begins on Sunday, January 31, through April 30.
Trudeau said the government and Canada’s main airlines have agreed to suspend service to sun destinations right away. He said Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing, and Air Transat have begun cancelling air service to all Caribbean destinations and Mexico.
“They will be making arrangements with their customers who are currently on a trip in these regions to organize their return flights,” Trudeau said.
He said starting next week, all international passenger flights must land at the following four airports: Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary and Montreal.
The ban on travel will further decrease the tourism dollars of small Caribbean nations like Jamaica, which lists Canada among its top three tourist markets. Jamaica has already imposed a travel ban on the United Kingdom, which leaves the United States as the only other major market where travel to the island is allowed.
U.S. travelers visiting Jamaica are required to provide a COVID-19 test before visiting the island and take a test before departure to the U.S. Jamaica’s tourism minister had lamented the restrictions, saying that it seems to be an covert way of limiting travel.