Canadian province sets gas, travel restrictions after floods


VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — The British Columbia government announced Friday it is limiting the amount of fuel people can purchase at gas stations in some parts of the province and is restricting non-essential travel as highways begin to reopen following torrential rains that caused floods and mudslides.

Provincial Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said non-essential vehicles will be limited to about 8 gallons (30 liters) per trip to the gas station. The order is expected to last until Dec. 1.

“These steps will keep commercial traffic moving, stabilize our supply chains and make sure everyone gets home safely,” Farnworth told a news conference. “We are asking people not to travel through severely affected areas, for their own well-being, but also to make sure the fuel we do have goes toward the services people need in this time of crisis.”

The precautionary closure of the Trans Mountain Pipeline during the flooding has raised concerns about a fuel shortage in province’s Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island. Assessments of the pipeline continue.

The government also has prohibited non-essential travel on sections of highways 99, 3 and 7.

Transportation Minister Rob Fleming said vehicles transporting essential products or delivering vital services can use the highways. So can people returning to their principle residents after being stranded.

“It is not open to recreational or non-essential travel,” he said.

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Air Canada Exits Canadian Government Support Program


Air Canada is withdrawing from the Canadian federal government’s financial support programs due to its improved liquidity position and ongoing recovery from the pandemic, the carrier announced Friday.

The support package under the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility, announced in April 2021, provided access to interest-bearing loans of C$5.4 billion and C$500 million in equity. To date, Air Canada has accessed about C$1.2 billion of the aid dedicated to refunding customers’ nonrefundable tickets, according to the company. Approximately 58 percent of eligible customers requested refunds. The money used for refunding those tickets will be repaid as per the terms of the agreement with interest paid quarterly by Air Canada.

The government purchased $500 million worth of Air Canada common shares at C$23.18 per share, which it continues to hold. Air Canada also issued to the government about 14.6 million 10-year warrants for the purchase of an equal number of Air Canada shares, at a price of approximately C$27.27 per share. With the termination of the operating credit facilities, half of these warrants, which have not yet vested with the government, have been canceled immediately. Subject to Toronto Stock Exchange approval, Air Canada intends to call the balance of the vested warrants for cancellation as per their terms at fair market value, according to the carrier.

RELATED: Air Canada to Issue Refunds for Canceled Tickets in Government Agreement



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Canadian snowbirds flock to US after international travel restrictions lifted


DETROIT – American families with loved ones across the border are feeling relief after the United States lifted international travel restrictions.

Vaccinated travelers can now come to the United States — but Canadians will need a negative COVID PCR test before they can go back home. It’s something many are willing to do after being separated from family for so long.

Read: US lifts international travel restrictions today: Here’s what to know

“We were listening to the news, hoping it would happen,” Canadian John Kraay said.

Canadian snowbirds were happy to be crossing the Ambassador Bridge again after the COVID pandemic led to a historic closure.

“I was pretty excited. I was happy. It’s been a long wait,” Canadian Nancy Kraay said.

On Monday (Nov. 8), the United States finally opened the borders for nonessential travel.

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“It was an excellent and marvelous feeling because after 18 months and we couldn’t see her,” Canadian Ghani Najeeb said.

The Toronto family is on their way to Chicago to visit loved ones for the first time since the borders closed.

“I have family over there. I cannot see them. My mom is not well, my brother and sister are there. So I’m excited to see them now,” Canadian Tahmina Najeeb said.

The Wong family is driving to Atlanta with a car full of their son’s belongings. They’re frustrated with the expensive PCR test required to return to Canada.

“The real big difference now is attesting to your vaccination status, because anyone coming here for nonessential purposes will need to demonstrate their vaccination,” CBP Detroit Field office Director of Field Operations Christopher Perry said.

Read: More Ambassador Bridge coverage

Copyright 2021 by WDIV ClickOnDetroit – All rights reserved.



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Canadian Snowbirds Primed to Flock South as US Opens Border | Florida News


By ANITA SNOW and TERRY TANG, Associated Press

PHOENIX (AP) — Canadians Ian and Heather Stewart are savoring the idea of leaving behind this winter’s subzero temperatures when the U.S. reopens its borders to nonessential land travel next week and they launch a long-delayed drive to their seasonal home in Fort Myers, Florida.

Restrictions imposed by both countries during the coronavirus pandemic and their own concerns kept the retired couple and millions of other Canadians from driving south to warmer climes like Florida, Arizona and Mexico during last year’s freezing winter months.

Now, the Biden administration’s decision to allow vaccinated people to enter the U.S. by land for any reason starting Nov. 8 has many Canadians packing up their campers and making reservations at their favorite vacation condos and mobile home parks. Some are already in the U.S., arriving on flights that never stopped and have required just a negative COVID-19 test.

But many have waited to drive, preferring the convenience of having a vehicle to get around in with rental cars scarce and expensive.

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Vacasa, a management company for over 30,000 vacation homes in North America, Belize and Costa Rica, said it saw a major rise in traffic on its online platform after the new rules were announced. Canadian users’ views at rentals in snowbird-popular destinations jumped by 120%.

The Stewarts will board their SUV with two dogs and a cat Nov. 10 for the four-day trek from Ottawa, Ontario, to spend six months on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

“We love it there,” said Ian Stewart, 81, a retired air traffic controller with the Royal Canadian Air Force. “There’s such a nice feel with the good weather that lets you get out and walk and talk to your neighbors. And you don’t have to worry about slipping on the ice and breaking your bones!”

Like the Stewarts, many Canadian snowbirds stay at mobile home parks and luxury RV resorts — with swimming pools, pickleball and sometimes golf courses — for people 55 and over. The Stewarts have owned a manufactured home at their Florida park since 2007.

Arizona is also popular for its mild winters.

The Arizona Office of Tourism expects an immediate economic impact in a state where people from Canada and Mexico traditionally make up the largest number of overnight visitors, said Becky Blaine, the office’s deputy director.

“The phones have been ringing off the hook since they announced the border will be reopened,” said Kate Ebert, manager of the Sundance 1 RV Resort in Casa Grande, halfway between Phoenix and Tucson.

Renée Louzon-Benn, executive director of the Greater Casa Grande Chamber of Commerce, said the desert community last year felt the absence of visitors from Canada and U.S. Midwestern states like Wisconsin and Michigan, with far fewer people spending money locally. Casa Grande Mayor Craig McFarland said the city of about 62,000 people usually swells by another 25,000 each winter.

Wendy Caban of Lake Country, British Columbia, is thrilled she and her husband, Geoffrey, can soon drive to their resort home in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa.

“I’m looking forward to seeing a lot of friends that we made over the last dozen years,” Wendy Caban said. “I’m looking forward to the warmth.”

But the couple, both 73, are still mulling when to leave.

“I think it’s going to be insane on Nov. 8,” Caban said. “So, we’ll wait a few days and monitor the lineups and the weather.”

Arizona’s Office of Tourism says close to 1 million Canadian tourists accounted for $1 billion in spending in 2019. That plunged to 257,000 Canadians who spent $325 million last year.

R. Glenn Williamson, Canada’s Arizona honorary consul and founder and CEO of the Canada Arizona Business Council, said the numbers for tourists don’t consider longer term stays by part-time resident Canadians who spend months at a time in homes they own in Arizona — as many as 200,000 additional people spending another $1.5 billion locally each year.

With some 500 Canadian companies operating in Arizona, a new wave of younger, wealthier Canadian snowbirds work part-time in the state, where they buy upscale homes and play golf, among Canada’s most popular sports, Williamson said.

Barbara and Brian Fox of Toronto, both in their 60s, plan to keep working for their strategic communications firm when they return to the Naples area on Florida’s Gulf Coast in March and April.

It will be the longest Florida stay so far for the couple, who have canceled at least five planned trips south during the course of the pandemic over restrictions and concerns about possible infection.

Plenty of retirees are planning to head south again as well.

They include Wilf and Lynne Burnett, who haven’t made annual trek south from their hometown in Vancouver, British Columbia, to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, since the coronavirus emerged. They typically tow a 15-foot (4.5-meter) boat so they can fish and visit restaurants with docks on the bay.

Now that land border restrictions are being eliminated, the Burnetts have a three-month reservation at a Puerto Vallarta condo starting Jan. 6.

“We’ll keep an eye on the virus and if things continue to improve, we’ll go,” Wilf Burnett said.

Those who decide to travel at the last minute will likely find it hard to book a condo, RV park or campground.

Amid concern restrictions might keep changing, some snowbirds are making reservations for earlier in the season than usual, starting from November through early next year, said Bruce Hoban, co-founder of the 2,000-member Vacation Rental Owners and Neighbors of Palm Springs. Hoban said peak visitor times for snowbirds, who comprise about 15% of vacation rentals, are generally between February and April.

Those who come can also expect prices as much as 20% to 30% higher because of increased demand, he said.

Bobby Cornwell, executive director of the Florida and Alabama RV Parks & Campground Association, said many sites in those states were booked solid from January through March even before the new travel rules were announced. That’s because Americans have embraced RV travel during the pandemic, filling spots Canadian campers normally would.

Still, it’s “wonderful news” Canadians can return, Cornwell said.

“We encourage all snowbirds to plan to come to Florida and make your reservations as soon as possible,” he said.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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Travel news: Romantic getaways close to home, new tours of Europe’s historic Christmas markets, wearable Canadian souvenirs – Cambridge Times



Travel news: Romantic getaways close to home, new tours of Europe’s historic Christmas markets, wearable Canadian souvenirs  Cambridge Times



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Travel news: Romantic getaways close to home, new tours of Europe’s historic Christmas markets, wearable Canadian souvenirs – Caledon Enterprise



Travel news: Romantic getaways close to home, new tours of Europe’s historic Christmas markets, wearable Canadian souvenirs  Caledon Enterprise



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US extends travel restrictions at Mexican and Canadian land borders – Boston News, Weather, Sports


 (CNN) — The United States is extending nonessential travel restrictions at land crossings with Canada and Mexico through October 21, even as it makes plans to allow fully vaccinated foreign visitors to come to the US later this year.

“We do not have any updates to the land border policies at this point. Title 19 is being extend for another month, as it is done on a monthly bases, through October 21, and as I said, no further updates on that policy at this point,” White House Covid-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients announced Monday.

The news came on the same call with reporters during which the White House announced it plans to ease air travel restrictions on all fully vaccinated foreign visitors starting in November. The announcement adds to the hodgepodge of Covid-inspired rules that international travelers must navigate when coming and going from the United States. While the rules Zients announced for all foreign travelers flying into the US are expected to take effect after October 21, the extension raises the possibility that fully vaccinated foreign visitors will be able to fly into the US but not drive into it over the US’ land border crossings.

CNN has asked the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for comment on the public health guidance that led to the latest extension.

The US has been limiting non-essential travel on the ground along both borders since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and extending those restrictions on a monthly basis. Air travel between the countries is possible, however. The restrictions don’t apply to cross-border trade, US citizens and lawful permanent residents, as well as people traveling for medical purposes or to attend school, among others.

The travel restrictions have come under heavy scrutiny by lobbyists, lawmakers and border mayors who have implored the Biden administration to adjust limits to meet the evolving landscape.

The new rules Zients announced in the call Monday morning will require all foreign nationals arriving in the United States by plane to show proof of being fully vaccinated. He said the new rules would take effect in early November, a timeline that will give agencies and airlines “time to prepare.”

As the pandemic took hold in March 2020, several countries joined the US in closing their borders. But with the roll out of the vaccine and other Covid mitigation measures, many countries have eased up on their restrictions. Canada, for instance, instituted a vaccine requirement that allows fully vaccinated US citizens and permanent residents to enter the country.

Keeping both borders on the same track

The US previously told the Canadians that the Biden administration wants to keep rules on both land borders symmetrical, a source familiar with discussions told CNN, despite differing situations on both borders and inconsistencies with air travel rules.

The US-Mexico border has been facing an influx of migrants that has overwhelmed resources, prompting some concern among US Customs and Border Protection officials about easing travel restrictions on the US southern border while surging personnel to assist with an uptick in migrants. The US-Canada land border is not facing that issue.

The changes announced Monday were specifically related to international air travel, and one official said the decision to reopen land borders would be made separately. The official said that discussions with Canadian counterparts though the White House-led task forces on reopening travel would be ongoing.

Last month, Marco Mendicino, Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, met with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Following the meeting, Mendicino told CNN of the travel restrictions: “Ultimately, we have to respect the timing of that decision, as I know the United States did for Canada. In the meantime, what we’ll do is keep the line of communication open.”

New York Rep. Brian Higgins, who serves as chair of the Northern Border Caucus and the Canada-US Interparliamentary Group, called the continued closure of the border “unnecessary and unexplained.”

“It is welcome news that the White House is making progress on reciprocating international public health measures to protect air travelers. Yet it is inexplicable that no announcement on easing travel restrictions at land ports of entry is being made today since the livelihoods of communities across the Northern Border depend on cross-border commerce,” the Democrat said in a statement.

A long process

Several countries in Europe have opened their borders to Americans, many of them instituting similar rules allowing the fully vaccinated to enter their countries.

President Joe Biden announced earlier this year he would convene a series of task forces meant to examine reopening travel, but months passed with little to show for the effort. Overseen by the White House Covid-19 response team and the National Security Council, the groups include representatives from the cdcalong with officials from the Departments of State, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, and Transportation.

The American officials were partnered with representatives from the European Union, United Kingdom, Canada and Mexico and have met several times to discuss the reopening situation since the administration announced them at the start of Biden’s first foreign trip in June. There have also been multiple smaller group conversations in between those larger meetings to discuss specific issues, like the epidemiological situation, variants, surveillance, and vaccination efforts and plans for changing travel restrictions, a White House official told CNN.

But some people familiar with the working groups had questioned their effectiveness, as other countries began to open to Americans with little clarity over whether the US would reciprocate. One source familiar with the discussions described “paralysis among agencies” over next steps.

This story has been updated with additional reporting.

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U.S. lawmakers push Biden to lift Canadian travel restrictions


WASHINGTON —
Four U.S. senators on Friday asked U.S. President Joe Biden to lift restrictions that have barred travel by Canadians across the northern U.S. border since March 2020.

Democratic Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Jon Tester of Montana and independent Angus King of Maine asked Biden to allow Canadians vaccinated against COVID-19 to travel to the United States before October. The border state senators said in a letter the restrictions have led to “economic and emotional strain in our communities.”

The senators added: “A plan with some indication of when your administration would feel comfortable lifting border restrictions based on public health data would provide clarity to businesses and families along the northern border.”

They also noted that Canadians can fly to the United States. “We struggle to understand the public health rationale for the disparate treatment in modes of travel,” the senators wrote.

The White House did not immediately comment on Friday, but White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients said on Wednesday that given the Delta variant of the coronavirus, “we will maintain the existing travel restrictions at this point.”

U.S. officials and travel industry executives say the White House is set to renew the restrictions before the latest extension expires on Sept. 21.

In August, the United States again extended restrictions closing its land borders with Canada and Mexico to nonessential travel such as tourism despite Ottawa’s decision to open its border to vaccinated Americans.

Canada on Aug. 9 began allowing fully vaccinated U.S. visitors for nonessential travel.

The United States has continued to extend the extraordinary restrictions on Canada and Mexico on a monthly basis since March 2020, when they were imposed to address the spread of COVID-19.

The U.S. land border restrictions do not bar U.S. citizens from returning home.

The United States separately bars most non-U.S. citizens who within the last 14 days have been in the United Kingdom, the 26 Schengen countries in Europe without border controls, Ireland, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil.





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U.S. Lawmakers Push Biden to Lift Canadian Travel Restrictions | Top News


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Four U.S. senators on Friday asked President Joe Biden to lift restrictions that have barred travel by Canadians across the northern U.S. border since March 2020.

Democratic Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Jon Tester of Montana and independent Angus King of Maine asked Biden to allow Canadians vaccinated against COVID-19 to travel to the United States before October. The border state senators said in a letter the restrictions have led to “economic and emotional strain in our communities.”

The senators added: “A plan with some indication of when your administration would feel comfortable lifting border restrictions based on public health data would provide clarity to businesses and families along the northern border.”

They also noted that Canadians can fly to the United States. “We struggle to understand the public health rationale for the disparate treatment in modes of travel,” the senators wrote.

The White House did not immediately comment on Friday, but White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients said on Wednesday that given the Delta variant of the coronavirus, “we will maintain the existing travel restrictions at this point.”

U.S. officials and travel industry executives say the White House is set to renew the restrictions before the latest extension expires on Sept. 21.

In August, the United States again extended restrictions closing its land borders with Canada and Mexico to nonessential travel such as tourism despite Ottawa’s decision to open its border to vaccinated Americans.

Canada on Aug. 9 began allowing fully vaccinated U.S. visitors for nonessential travel.

The United States has continued to extend the extraordinary restrictions on Canada and Mexico on a monthly basis since March 2020, when they were imposed to address the spread of COVID-19.

The U.S. land border restrictions do not bar U.S. citizens from returning home.

The United States separately bars most non-U.S. citizens who within the last 14 days have been in the United Kingdom, the 26 Schengen countries in Europe without border controls, Ireland, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil.

(Reporting by David Shepardson in Washington; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.



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U.S. lawmakers push Biden to lift Canadian travel restrictions


People cross the U.S.-Canadian border after Canada opened the border to vaccinated Americans in Blaine, Washington, U.S., August 9, 2021. REUTERS/David Ryder

WASHINGTON, Sept 17 (Reuters) – Four U.S. senators on Friday asked President Joe Biden to lift restrictions that have barred travel by Canadians across the northern U.S. border since March 2020.

Democratic Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Jon Tester of Montana and independent Angus King of Maine asked Biden to allow Canadians vaccinated against COVID-19 to travel to the United States before October. The border state senators said in a letter the restrictions have led to “economic and emotional strain in our communities.”

The senators added: “A plan with some indication of when your administration would feel comfortable lifting border restrictions based on public health data would provide clarity to businesses and families along the northern border.”

They also noted that Canadians can fly to the United States. “We struggle to understand the public health rationale for the disparate treatment in modes of travel,” the senators wrote.

The White House did not immediately comment on Friday, but White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients said on Wednesday that given the Delta variant of the coronavirus, “we will maintain the existing travel restrictions at this point.”

U.S. officials and travel industry executives say the White House is set to renew the restrictions before the latest extension expires on Sept. 21.

In August, the United States again extended restrictions closing its land borders with Canada and Mexico to nonessential travel such as tourism despite Ottawa’s decision to open its border to vaccinated Americans.

Canada on Aug. 9 began allowing fully vaccinated U.S. visitors for nonessential travel. read more

The United States has continued to extend the extraordinary restrictions on Canada and Mexico on a monthly basis since March 2020, when they were imposed to address the spread of COVID-19.

The U.S. land border restrictions do not bar U.S. citizens from returning home.

The United States separately bars most non-U.S. citizens who within the last 14 days have been in the United Kingdom, the 26 Schengen countries in Europe without border controls, Ireland, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil.

Reporting by David Shepardson in Washington
Editing by Matthew Lewis

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



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