Canada to allow return of cruise ships in November, with conditions
VANCOUVER, July 15 (Reuters) – Canada will allow cruise ships to return to its waters starting in November as the COVID-19 pandemic wears off, but they must fully comply with public health requirements that fail have not yet been finalized, Ottawa said Thursday.
Earlier this year, Canada extended the cruise ship ban until February 2022, citing the need to protect public health. Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said in a statement that the restriction will now be lifted on November 1, 2021.
“We will welcome cruise ships – an important part of our tourism industry – returning to Canadian waters for the 2022 season,” he said.
The news should appeal to major operators who have complained that Canada’s ban is hurting their business on the West Coast. US law requires foreign-flagged cruise ships sailing from Washington State to Alaska to call in Canada.
Canada, however, has yet to lift the ban on non-essential travel with the United States. A Canadian government official said the Alghabra announcement would allow the two countries to work on ways to safely manage the cruise industry.
“We are working hard through our embassy, through our officials, myself, through our department, and we make sure to keep our business as usual,” Alghabra told reporters.
He gave no indication of when the border between the United States and Canada would reopen to tourists.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters in Montreal on Thursday that Ottawa will make an announcement on the next steps in reopening the border in the coming weeks.
A day earlier he said it “would be catastrophic and heartbreaking to have to go back to lockdown, as some countries are now considering pushes into the Delta variant because we were too eager to reopen in a few weeks.”
Additional reporting by David Ljunggren in Ottawa and Allison Lampert in Montreal; Edited by David Gregorio. Paul Simao and Jane Merriman
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