As new and more contagious coronavirus variants make their way around the world, Canada plans to impose a new restriction. As of next Monday, people reaching its borders by land will have to produce a negative coronavirus test—taken in the past 72 hours—before being allowed into Canada. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement Tuesday, CTV News reports. He said Canadians can't be barred from reentering, but they could be fined up to $3,000 if they don't show negative test results, per CBC. The government can then "demand and ensure a rapid and complete followup to make sure that they are getting tested, that they are being properly quarantined, that they are not putting at risk the safety of other Canadians by returning home without a clear negative test," Trudeau said.
Arrivals by air already have to show a negative test, and Trudeau said more steps will be announced for air travelers "in the next few days," per Travel Pulse. The Canada-US land border is closed to all but essential traffic because of the pandemic, but returning Canadians often are allowed to cross. Nonessential travelers have to quarantine for 14 days, though government figures show three-fourths of those returning are exempt from the quarantine rule, usually because they're deemed essential workers. NHL workers starting training camp were exempt, as well. Among those traveling by land, the figure is over 90%. No one is exempt because they've received a coronavirus vaccination. "Right now, the scientific principle underpinning the application of vaccines for international travel cannot be made," Canada's chief public health official said, adding, "because we do not know the vaccines reduce transmission." (Canada arrested Americans last summer for violating the Quarantine Act.)