#Quebec; #Tourism; #liftingBansOnFestivals; #ComplianceWithHealthAuthorities
Quebec, Aug. 5 (Canadian-Media): Quebec's Minister of Tourism, Caroline Proulx announced Aug 5 lifting of the cancellation of festivals and events for all regions of Quebec following Quebec government's proclamation to allow a maximum of 250 people for outdoor gatherings, media reports said.
Caroline Proulx. Image credit: Twitter Handle
Organizers of the festivals and events will be able to resume their activities as of Aug 5 subject to their compliance with the directives of the public health authorities of allowing 250 as maximum number of people on the outdoor site and maintenance of a distance of 2 meters between participants who do not reside at the same address.
Festival and event organizers will also be able to hold indoor events for up to 250 people, as authorized by public health since August 3, and will have to comply with sanitary measures and other guidelines related to these activities.
This announcement marks an important first step for the relaunch of the tourism sector in Quebec as well as the economy of all its regions.
“This is great news for festival and event organizers as well as for workers, artists and all businesses related to this sector. Since the start of this crisis, our promoters have shown remarkable resilience and creativity. Today, we support them in restarting their activities, while ensuring everyone's safety by means of clear guidelines. Festival and event planners are professionals in managing gatherings, and I have no doubts that this takeover will be done responsibly," said Proulx in a news release.
#Canada; #AirTransat; #WesternCanada
Ottawa, Jul 31 (Canadian-Media): Cancellations of all flights from Western Canada to sun destinations and the United States this winter are being planned by Air Transat, with refunds en route to customers, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, media reports said.
Image: Air Transat. Image credit: Twitter handle
All southbound routes that were scheduled to take off from Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and Victoria are being cancelled by the airline, Air Transat parent Transat AT told customers this week.
Between Nov. 1 and April 30 the only routes out of western gateways will be from Vancouver to Toronto and Montreal, and some connecting flights to Europe via Toronto.
A full refund will be received by the would-be passengers automatically rather than the company credit that has previously been offered for flights cancelled due to the COVID-19 crisis, Transat said.
"Since the current situation does not allow us to foresee resuming routes from Western Canada in the near future and there will therefore be no direct flight options to use vouchers with Air Transat from their location, customers impacted by cancellations resulting from this suspension will receive a refund in the amount on file," Transat spokesperson Marie-Christine Pouliot said in an email, CBC News reported.
#Canada; #US; #CanadaUSBorderClosure; #HealthSafety
Ottawa, Jul 14 (Canadian-Media): It has been confirmed by CBC News confirmed that the agreement to restrict travel across the Canada-U.S. border will be extended into August, media reports said.
Canada-US Border. Image credit: Flickr
The agreement was set to expire on July 21 and is now being renewed for the fourth time since the border closed to non-essential traffic on March 21.
The extension comes after a range of issues that included the border closure were discussed Monday by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Donald Trump over the phone.
Despite calls from U.S. members of Congress to consider a phased plan for reopening, Canadian government officials say they expect the border to stay largely closed for the foreseeable future.
The fact that U.S. states are being hit record daily highs in a large number of COVID-19 cases, any resumption of pre-pandemic travel a would cause significant health threat to Canada.
"We recognize that the situation continues to be complex in the United States in regards to COVID-19," Trudeau said Monday at a press conference. "Every month, we have been able to extend the border closures to all but essential goods and services and those discussions are ongoing."
80 percent of Canadians, according to recent polls, favour keeping the border restrictions in place.
It has also been suggested by some leading public health experts the border should remain closed until at least the end of the year.
Owing to the differences in the epidemiological climates in the two countries, the border closure continues to make sense from a public health perspective, said Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada's deputy public health officer.
"Canadians have made tremendous sacrifices to date in terms of flattening the curve and we're seeing the fruits of our labours," Njoo said. "We don't want to ... waste these efforts by potentially ... reintroducing the virus into Canada and increasing the risk of further transmission."
Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-François Blanchet told reporters that the border should remain closed because the pandemic is still out of control in the U.S.
"If we take examples of countries who managed well this crisis, in the list of those who did well, you won't find the United States," Blanchet said.
"As long as the border appears to be a threat in the health of Quebecers and Canadians, it should remain closed."
#Montreal; #AirCanada; #SuspendedRoutes; #CancelledRoutes; #Covid19Pandemic
Montreal, Jun 30 (Canadian-Media): 30 domestic regional routes are being indefinitely suspended and eight stations at regional airports across Canada are being closed by Air Canada due to an unprecedented decline in demand for air travel as a result of COVID-19, media reports said.
Air Canada. Image credit: Twitter handle
Canada's largest domestic and international airline, Air Canada is among the 20 largest airlines in the world and in 2019 served over 51 million customers. Being a founding member of Star Alliance, Air Canada is the world's most comprehensive air transportation network.
Air Canada is the only international network carrier in North America to receive a Four-Star ranking according to An independent U.K. research firm Skytrax, which also named Air Canada the as 2019 Best Airline in North America.
The Montreal-based airline said Tuesday that these cuts are the result of continuing decline in demand for both business and leisure travel because of COVID-19 travel restrictions and border closures.
As the company has previously reported, Air Canada expects the industry's recovery will take a minimum of three years. As a consequence, other changes to its network and schedule, as well as further service suspensions, will be considered over the coming weeks as the airline takes steps to decisively reduce its overall cost structure and cash burn rate.
As a result of COVID-19, Air Canada reported a net loss of $1.05 billion in the first quarter of 2020, including a net cash-burn in March of $688 million. The carrier has undertaken a range of structural changes including significant cost savings and liquidity measures, of which today's announced service suspensions form part.
Other measures include: Approximately 20,000 employees were reduced from the workforce through layoffs, severances, early retirements and special leaves, representing more than 50 percent of its staff; around $1.1 billion in savings to date by a company-wide Cost Reduction and Capital Deferral Program; Its system-wide capacity reduced by approximately 85 percent in the second quarter compared to last year's second quarter and an expected third quarter capacity reduction of at least 75% from the third quarter of 2019; the permanent removal of 79 aircraft from its mainline and Rouge fleets; and raising approximatively $5.5 billion in liquidity since March 13, 2020, through a series of debt, aircraft and equity financings.
Further initiatives are being considered.
A full list of route suspensions and station closures is below.
The following routes will be suspended indefinitely as per applicable regulatory notice requirements. Affected customers will be contacted by Air Canada and offered options, including alternative routings where available.
Maritimes/Newfoundland and Labrador: Deer Lake-Goose Bay; Deer Lake-St. John's; Fredericton-Halifax; Fredericton-Ottawa; Moncton-Halifax; Saint John-Halifax; Charlottetown-Halifax; Moncton-Ottawa; Gander-Goose Bay; Gander-St. John's; Bathurst-Montreal; Wabush-Goose Bay; Wabush-Sept-Iles; Goose Bay-St. John's.
Quebec/Ontario: Baie Comeau-Montreal; Baie Comeau-Mont Joli; Gaspé-Iles de la Madeleine; Gaspé-Quebec City; Sept-Iles-Quebec City; Val d'Or-Montreal; Mont Joli-Montreal; Rouyn-Noranda-Val d'Or; Kingston-Toronto; London-Ottawa; North Bay-Toronto; and Windsor-Montreal
Western Canada: Regina-Winnipeg; Regina-Saskatoon; Regina-Ottawa; Saskatoon-Ottawa.
The Regional Airports where Air Canada is closing its stations are Bathurst (New Brunswick); Wabush (Newfoundland and Labrador); Gaspé (Quebec); Baie Comeau (Quebec); Mont Joli (Quebec); Val d'Or (Quebec); Kingston (Ontario); North Bay (Ontario)
Toronto, Jun 18 (Canadian-Media): Consulate General of India, Toronto office provides Vande Bharat mission flights' schedules, as follows.
#CanadaUSBorderCrossing; #FlyingToUSPermitted; #CBP; #TravelRestrictions
Ottawa, Jun 12 (Canadian-Media): Many Canadians are unaware of the fact that even if they are currently barred crossing the Canad-US border for driving to the United states for leisure travel can still fly to the country, media reports said.
CBP. Image credit: TwitterHandle
CBCNews said that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) had told CBCNews that its travel restrictions apply only to Canadians trying to enter the U.S. at land border crossings, which includes travel by car, train, ferry and pleasure boats, said CBC news.
Canadian traveling by air can still enter the country subject to the condition that they haven't visited Brazil, China, Iran, Ireland, the U.K. or 26 European countries in the Schengen Area 14 days prior to their flight.
It is also not required by Canadian travelers to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival.
Although it is recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that international travelers should isolate, but it's not a requirement unless specified by a particular region or state. For example, Hawaii requires that air passengers self-isolate for 14 days.
But after Canadians returning home, they must self-isolate for 14 days — as per federal rules.
The U.S. air travel rule isn't widely known on either side of the border.
U.S. immigration lawyer Len Saunders said he only became aware of the details recently.
The permission to fly does not apply on the US side of the border.
Canada prohibits U.S. visitors from entering the country via all modes of transport — including by plane.
However, this week, travel restrictions were loosened by the Canadian government to allow U.S. citizens with immediate family in Canada to enter the country.
Canadians will still be able to fly to the U.S., unless the country revises its rules.
CBP didn't provide CBC News with an explanation. Instead, it sent a link to a Department of Homeland Security document that states that "non-essential travel between the United States and Canada poses additional risk of transmission and spread of COVID–19."
But the document doesn't state the reason why travel restrictions for Canadians only apply to land border crossings.
#Canada; #CanadaUSBorderClosureExtension; #NonEssentialTraffic; #Exemptions
Ottawa, Jun 10 (Canadian-Media): The closure of the Canada-U.S. border to all non-essential traffic is reported by sources to be further extended to late July, media reports said.
Canada-US border. Image credit: Flickr
An agreement had been reached by both countries in March to temporarily close the border to non-essential travel while keeping it open to commercial traffic and essential workers who cross the border for work.
The initial agreement reached in March was extended in April by 30 days until May 21, and last month it was again extended for another 30 till June 21.
A few exemptions were announced June 8 by the federal government of Canada to allow some immediate family members separated by temporary COVID-19 travel restrictions to cross the border into the country.
“This is an incredibly difficult time to be apart from a spouse, a child, or mom or dad. We hear that,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a press briefing on Monday. “That’s why we are bringing in a limited exemption to allow immediate family members of citizens or permanent residents to come to Canada.”
Anyone who enters the country will have to self-quarantine for 14 days, and failure to follow the rules could result in "serious penalties" Trudeau said.
The exemption, however, does not apply to immediate family members of temporary residents in Canada, such as those on a student or work visa, and all foreign nationals who have COVID-19 or exhibit any signs or symptoms are still prohibited from entering Canada.
Those changes effective midnight on June 8 apply to foreign nationals who are immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents and who do not have COVID-19 or are showing any signs or symptoms of the coronavirus.
Through this exemption, the government is defining an immediate family member as someone's: Spouse or common-law partner, dependent child, parent or step-parent or the parent or step-parent of the person's spouse or common-law partner, guardian or tutor.
The final date to which extension would apply has not yet been revealed.
#Quebec; #TourismIndustry; #deconfinement; #agrotourism; #HotelIndustry
Duhamel-Ouest, QC, June 5 (Canadian-Media): As the month of June begins, the situation becomes critical for the tourism industry in Quebec. The planned deconfinement will not be enough in the middle to catch its breath: tourism will not be at all like in previous years.
Quebec Tourism. Image credit: Twitter handle
"The tourism industry has been told for weeks that the government will support them, however, apart from permission to reopen, nothing concrete has yet been announced. The Minister of Tourism seems to be proud that on deconfinement to revive the industry, but that is not enough, on the ground businesses will continue to wrest from it, "insists the responsible person in charge of development and vitality of the territories, Émilise Lessard-Therrien.
The tourist season starts late and even with a recovery, the volume will not be up to the usual years. Businesses also have to juggle with the shortage of labor, health measures that impact spending and their services. The industry needs clear measures and financial support.
Québec solidaire requests the government to:
Tourism would not exist without accommodation, a sector hit hard. The majority of hoteliers and accommodation establishments are family businesses that employ 42,000 people and generate economic spinoffs of $ 2 billion.
For the regions of Quebec, the tourism industry is not only a major economic lever, but an essential link in regional dynamism. "The government is not shy about giving $ 200 million to a single foreign-owned company, but is watching local companies shut down. Without support, it is the vitality of Quebec's regions that is endangered, ”worries the member for Rouyn-Noranda-Témiscamingue.
#UN; #Covid19; #UNTourism; #UNWTO; #GlobalGuidelines
Geneva, Jun 2 (Canadian-Media): After months of lockdowns, countries are cautiously starting to ease travel restrictions put in place to stop the spread of COVID-19, according to research published Monday by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), UN reports said.
Camels and their guides, take a break from giving rides to tourists, at the famous ancient Egyptian pyramids of Giza. Image credit: UN News/Matt Wells
Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili, stressed "the need for vigilance, responsibility and international cooperation as the world slowly opens up again.
In the fourth edition of its COVID-19 Travel Restrictions: A Global Review for Tourism, the UN specialized agency reviews measures of 217 destinations worldwide, as of 18 May. The report finds that 3 per cent of all destinations have taken steps to ease restrictions. Seven destinations have eased restrictions for international tourism purposes, while several more are engaged in discussions on the reopening of borders.
Nowhere fully open for tourists, yet
The report notes that 100 per cent of all destinations worldwide continue to have some COVID-19 travel restrictions in place; 75 per cent are still completely closed to international tourism. In 37 per cent of all cases, restrictions have been in place for 10 weeks, while 24 per cent have had controls in place for 14 weeks or more.
“The timely and responsible easing of travel restrictions will help ensure the many social and economic benefits that tourism guarantees will return in a sustainable way”, Mr. Pololikashvili said.
The more important tourism is to individual economies, the more likely it is that countries have responded with complete border closures. In the case of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), the report finds that 85 per cent continue to remain completely closed to tourists.
In all UNWTO regions, more than 65 per cent of their destinations remain completely closed to tourism: Africa (74 per cent), the Americas (86 per cent), Asia and the Pacific (67 per cent), Europe (74 per cent) and the Middle East (69 per cent).
The report follows last week’s release of UNWTO’s Global Guidelines to Restart Tourism, aimed at helping the sector emerge more sustainably from COVID-19. Produced in cooperation with the Global Tourism Crisis Committee, the guidance highlights the need to act decisively, to restore confidence and to embrace innovation.
UNWTO warns that international tourist arrivals could fall between 60 and 80 per cent, depending on when restrictions are lifted. This could place 100 to 120 million jobs at risk and potentially lead to $910 billion to $1.2 trillion lost in exports.
“These guidelines provide both Governments and businesses with a comprehensive set of measures designed to help them open tourism up again in a safe, seamless and responsible manner,” Mr. Pololikashvili said.
#Canada; #USFlights; #InternationalFlights; #Covid19Pandemic; #CBSA; #PHAC;
Ottawa, May 26 (Canadian-Media): Even after significant cut in U.S. and other international flights coming into Canada, thousands of passengers, undaunted by COVID-19 pandemic, are still flying each week at the country's airports, media reports said.
Covid-19 Pandemic. Image credit: Twitter handle
Last year during the week of May 11-17, approximately 356,673 air travelers came into Canada from the U.S., according to the Canada Border Services Agency(CBSA).
Although there was a nearly 99 percent drop in the same time period this year, yet 3,691 people still entered Canada that week.
Colin Furness, infection control epidemiologist, and also an assistant professor with the University of Toronto's Faculty of Information, believes this to be a cause for concern, since it is through travel that this pandemic arrived everywhere in the world.
"We should be closing our borders as much as we can. We can't bring [the number of entrants] down to zero but we should get as close as we can."
The Public Health Agency of Canada reported that as of May 25, 19 percent of confirmed cases were the result of someone becoming exposed while travelling or being exposed to a traveler coming to Canada, and nine percent of of cases were contributed by those who reported to have traveled outside of Canada.
Trudeau told reporters last week that more should be done to ensure proper follow up of travelers coming back from overseas or from the United States, and are properly isolated to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
He said he was in in constant conversations with the premiers regarding potential monitoring tools for those arriving in Canada.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney recently announced implementation of more stringent measures by his government to screen incoming passengers from outside Canada for symptoms of COVID-19 at the province's two international airports in Calgary and Edmonton .
Travelers arriving from destinations outside Canada will undergo temperature scans and provide provincial officials with details of their 14-day mandatory quarantine plan including where they will stay and how they will get there.
Travelers without such plans or private transport to their destinations will be isolated on site, Kenney said.
In April, the federal government announced that all air travelers would have to wear face masks while in transit and whenever maintaining two metres' separation from others is not possible.
Passengers arriving in or departing from Canada have to prove they have a non-medical mask or face covering with them during the boarding process. Those not having non-medical mask or face covering could be prevented from continuing their journey.
Some airlines had ensured that the middle seat is kept empty.