A U.S.-based Canadian is relieved with the federal government's decision to remove the 14-day quarantine requirement for fully vaccinated citizens and permanent residents.
As of Monday morning, Canadians and permanent residents who've received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine can forego the 14-day quarantine, which had been a requirement since March of last year.
"People are just looking to get connected with humans instead of Zooms," said Hasin Pandya.
Pandya has family living in Comber, Ont., but he has been living in Chicago and has not been able to visit his family in person since the Canada-U.S. border first closed its borders in March 2020.
He said it is a relief to know he can visit his parents without having to worry about taking time off work to fulfil the 14-day quarantine.
"It definitely makes my decision making a lot easier," said Pandya.
Connecting with humans again
As of July 5, Canadian citizens, permanent residents and some eligible foreign nationals are allowed to enter Canada as long as they have been fully vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine approved in Canada.
Proof of vaccination must be uploaded to the ArriveCan app or website as well as a suitable quarantine plan, even if they're "seeking the fully vaccinated exemption," according to the government's website.
The federal government also has said children who aren't fully vaccinated will be able to go home with their parents, but must quarantine and follow testing rules.
Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti, an infectious disease physician with Trillium Health Partners, said the risk calculus is at a point where easing the border restrictions makes sense.
"Before, all we talked about was COVID risk, but now that we've been able to defang the virus with vaccines we can now bring in a risk trade-off," he said.
"We now know bringing in travellers can be done because the illness isn't as severe."
Currently, restrictions on non-essential travel between the Canada-U.S. border are set to expire July 21 unless extended once again.
In the meantime, the lifting of some restrictions is seen as a cautious approach toward that.
"I feel like that's a huge barrier that's been taken away where we can kind of finally get back to a normal life pre-pandemic," said Pandya.