After more than a year and a half, the Canadian border was finally reopened Monday to fully-vaccinated American citizens and permanent residents.
Only those who tested negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours before travel, live in the United States and are two weeks or more past their last COVID-19 vaccine shot will be let into the country.
Visitors are required to upload their vaccination details online. Once they arrive they are tested again.
Many arriving at Montreal-Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport Monday haven’t been across the border since March 2020. They say they were relieved.
It feels fantastic,” Karine Coble beamed as she waited with her husband Steve Coble for their Uber lift outside the airport terminal building.
“We’ve really missed Montreal. It’s probably our favourite city.”
Others, like Steve and Linda Brackett from Richmond, Va., missed family — their daughter, Nicole.
Steve joked he has two priorities now that he’s finally in Montreal.
“Have a cold one,” he laughed, “and see the grandkids.”
He and other Americans with whom Global News spoke said for them, the process of getting into Canada was smooth.
“Given that it was the first day that the border is open for Americans,” explained one visitor, “I didn’t think it was as bad as you could anticipate.”
On Sunday night, returning Canadian residents reported waiting up to four hours to clear customs at Trudeau airport.
Aéroports de Montréal authorities confirmed to Global News that airports across the country are getting busier and that delays occur because of COVID-19 screening processes.
In a statement addressing Sunday’s situation, spokesperson Anne-Sophie Hamel wrote, “the waiting time to access the processing area at the border control (customs) was indeed very long, while approximately 7,800 travelers arrived at YUL .”
According to Jacqueline Callin, spokesperson for Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), “travellers should plan for the possibility of additional processing time when crossing the border due to the enhanced public health measures,” she wrote in an email, “as the CBSA will not compromise the health and safety of Canadians for the sake of border wait times.
Steve Brackett said though the process was annoying, it was necessary and easy to understand.
“It’s really a good, easy process,” he pointed out, but then added jokingly, “You just have to follow all the marks on the floor.”
He and others said they’re just glad to be able to cross the border again, and already have plans.
“We’re going down to the old city,” Steve Coble told Global News. “We’re already making reservations for where we’re gonna eat.”
The United States has not yet reopened its border to Canadians.
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