Toronto, CA- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has signed off on Canada dropping the vaccine requirement for people coming into the country starting at the end of September.
Currently, unvaccinated travelers going to Canada are subject to mandatory arrival tests and a 14-day quarantine, as well as filling out a form in the ArriveCAN app. Those requirements are set to expire at the end of September, and Trudeau has decided to not renew them.
Lindsay Kurrle, the Secretary of Commerce and Community Development, hopes that the U.S. will follow suit in order to encourage tourism between Vermont and Canada.
“Since the start of the pandemic, and when restrictions went into place at the borders, every time there has been an ease of restrictions we’ve seen an uptick in border crossings,” said Kurrle.
The Green Mountain State has struggled to return to its pre-pandemic tourism numbers. According to Kurrle, Vermont saw about 700,000 Canadian visitors yearly before COVID-19, but that number is down about 40%. This translates to a loss of $25 million in hotel and lodging revenue, $15 million in restaurant revenue, and an additional $25 million in combined transportation services, retail, and entertainment.
“Anything that we can do to make it easier to bring our neighbors from the north here to Vermont is a good thing,” she said, “whether it be to do business, or to shop in our stores, or to go to our restaurants, or to ski our slopes.”
Kurrle noted that this announcement also impacts Vermonters living close to the border.
“They don’t see a line in the sand,” she said, “they come back and forth on a daily basis, and the pandemic really made that feel different for them.”
Kurrle is hopeful that this announcement will help Vermont tourism regain some of its loss, and from what she hears the hospitality industry is seeing a strong number of bookings going into the fall foliage season, and winter ski season.