Traveling to Canada during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go

Editor’s Note — CNN Travel updates this article periodically. It was last updated in its entirety on December 29.

(CNN) — If you’re planning a trip to Canada, here’s what you’ll need to know and expect if you want to visit during the global coronavirus pandemic.

The basics

Canada may have fared better than its neighbor to the south, but Covid cases in the country continue to rise. There are strict rules on entry for all, including Canadian citizens and their relatives. All arrivals must quarantine for 14 days.

What’s on offer

This is the ultimate destination for adventure. Whether it’s skiing and snowboarding in the Rockies or bear watching in the wilds of Ontario, Canada has everything to satisfy travelers who want to spend time in the great outdoors.

Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal are all perfect for city breaks, with first rate culture, food and entertainment on offer.

Who can go

Citizens and permanent residents are allowed to enter Canada, but must quarantine for 14 days. Immediate and extended family members, including those without Canadian citizenship, can enter for any reason as long as they are staying in the country for more than 15 days (they too must quarantine). Those coming for fewer than 15 days can only enter for an essential purpose.

All extended family members (but not immediate family) must also have written permission from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). For more information, see here. Only essential travel and transiting passengers are otherwise allowed.

Flights from the UK have been suspended until January 6.

What are the restrictions?

As of November 21, all permitted arrivals must use the ArriveCAN app or website to submit travel and contact information, a 14-day quarantine plan and a Covid-19 symptom self-assessment. The quarantine plan must detail where you will stay, how you will get there and how you will arrange for delivery of essentials such as groceries and medicine. Failure to stick to the plan can lead to six months’ jail time and a CAN$750,000 (US$593,000) fine.

Additionally, all arrivals are given a health screening by a border officer to assess any symptoms.

What’s the Covid situation?

Canada dealt well with the initial wave of Covid-19. However, it is currently in the grip of a deadly second wave, which experts believe is in part due to indoor mixing around Canadian Thanksgiving in October. Daily cases are up to 10 times higher than in late summer according to Canada’s public health agency.

Toronto is under a second strict lockdown, although cases in the city continue to rise. Alberta has also imposed new lockdown measures as cases there soar. Quebec is locked down for the holidays until January 10.

What can visitors expect?

Mask mandates vary between provinces. Alberta brought in new measures in early December, enforcing face coverings and banning all social gatherings. The same is also true in British Columbia, where authorities are hoping to prevent large gatherings over the holidays with a ban on meeting more than one person, both indoors and outdoors.

In Alberta, indoor dining is banned, while in Toronto, bars and restaurants are limited to take out service only. All non-essential businesses are closed in Quebec,

Most Canadian provinces continue to advise people to maintain a two-meter distance to cut the spread of the virus.

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Joe Minihane and Julia Buckley contributed to this report