Lorraine Simpson: Travel in Canada during COVID-19 and what you need to know

Lorraine Simpson: Travel in Canada during COVID-19 and what you need to know

Travel in Canada may be confusing, but Lorraine Simpson, Cityline TV Travel Expert and Travel Guru gives you all the info you need before packing your bags.

Some provinces are partially in Stage 3 and some in Stage 2, some are closed totally to non-residents and have roadblocks, and some are welcoming tourists back slowly.

Here I will share with you on what you need to know when traveling in Canada at present and where you can go.


People can visit from other provinces without restrictions; however, some beaches are only open to local residents and not tourists.

More businesses and activities are being given the green light to reopen, while adhering to specific public health measures.

What is open in Stage 3 in Ontario is now essential info as parts of Ontario have officially entered into the final stage of reopening after lockdown.

With reopening comes a whole new set of rules. Gathering limits have increased to 50 indoor and 100 outdoor, and people can participate in team sports, attend live concerts within limits, and even dine-in at restaurants.

Nearly all businesses and public spaces can gradually reopen as regions enter Stage 3, with public health and workplace safety restrictions in place, while some higher-risk businesses like amusement parks remain closed until they can safely resume operations.

Casinos are subject to gathering limits and physical distancing measures, which apply to the entire facility. Slot machines are cleaned often, and table games are not allowed.

Facilities for sports and recreational fitness activities can open with strict rules for cleaning sanitizing and distancing. Steam rooms and saunas are not yet permitted to open.

Interactive exhibits at museums, attractions and heritage institutions, zoos and historical sites can now open.

All special events, instructional classes and performances at these locations are subject to gathering limits and physical distancing measures.

Live shows, performing arts and movie theatres, concerts, artistic events, theatrical productions, performances, and movie theatres are allowed to operate with smaller numbers and distancing in place.

Drive-in and drive-through venues are not subject to gathering limits.

All restaurants, bars, concession stands, and other food and drink establishments may open for indoor dine-in. Nightclubs are not yet safe to open.


Most non-Nunavut residents are banned from entering the territory aside from a few exceptions. Recently, a Travel Bubble was established between Nunavut and the Northwest Territories so residents of those Territories can travel freely without quarantining if they have not been outside their respective territory for two weeks prior to entry.

Before travelers from NWT can enter Nunavut, they must complete and sign the NU and NWT Traveler’s Declaration form.

Otherwise, NU residents entering from the rest of Canada are subject to a mandatory 14-day isolation period that will take place outside of the territory in either Ottawa, Winnipeg, Edmonton. or Yellowknife.

Northwest Territories

Only residents of NWT and Nunavut are allowed to enter the province, but they still must self-isolate for 14 days (unless they are traveling directly from either territory).

Furthermore, the government states that: “travellers arriving in the NWT must mandatorily self-isolate for 14 days in Yellowknife, Inuvik, Hay River or Fort Smith only.

Atlantic Canada

Thanks to another “travel bubble,” residents from Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and P.E.I. can travel without restriction between the four maritime provinces without needing to quarantine. You must also be aware that within this that each of the provinces has its own specific rules as to who is allowed to enter, forms that may need to be filled out and required ID.

Aside from residents of Atlantic Canada, most Canadians are not allowed entry into Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick and P.E.I. at the moment for tourism. Some exceptions may apply in emergency.

The one exception is Nova Scotia, which is allowing Canadian travelers entry with the requirement that they must self-isolate for 14 days upon entry to the province.


Most travel restrictions have been lifted and there are no self-isolation requirements for Canadian residents. Restaurants, bars( indoor and out) are open, parks, attractions and beaches all with similar distancing and sanitization rules.

There is an exception for the Cree Territory of James Bay and Nunavik and this is still limited.

Checkpoints are being maintained in order to limit the number of people entering and leaving these territories. Only essential travel is authorized to these regions, for humanitarian reasons, to work or to practice a profession in workplaces where activities have not been suspended, or to obtain the care or services that individuals’ health status requires.

The police may be present at entry and exit points in these regions and territories. In order to validate the appropriateness of a person’s travel, the police may ask them to provide certain supporting documents, such as proof of residence, a driver’s licence, or a document provided by an employer.


Manitoba is the only province outside of Atlantic Canada (and the Territories) with domestic coronavirus travel restrictions. In general, anyone arriving in Manitoba is required to self-isolate for 14-days upon arrival to reduce the spread of COVID-19. However, there are exceptions to this requirement specified in the order.

In particular, Manitoba residents who have travelled to western Canada or northwestern Ontario are exempt from the self-isolation requirements when they return to Manitoba if they have not travelled outside of western Canada or northwestern Ontario and are not displaying any symptoms of COVID-19.

Residents of Western Canada or Northwestern Ontario are also exempt, if they have not travelled to another country or any part of Canada outside of Eastern Canada or Northwestern Ontario in the 14-day period immediately before entering or arriving in Manitoba and are not displaying any symptoms of COVID-19.

Western Canada means British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut (as defined in the order).

Northwestern Ontario means that portion of Ontario that is located west of Terrace Bay (as defined in the order)

Other persons who are exempt from the self-isolation requirements include:

  • Transporters of goods and people such as truckers and pilots
  • People traveling to facilitate shared parenting arrangements
  • People traveling for emergency medical purposes
  • People travelling to Western Canada and northwestern Ontario for business or recreational purposes.
  • Professional athletes and team members (players, coaches, managers, training and technical staff and medical personnel) employed by or affiliated with a professional sports team from Manitoba are also exempt from the self-isolation requirements as well as film production crew members (cast and crew) if they are not displaying any symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Travel is permitted but anyone arriving in the province is required to self-isolate for 14-days. However, there are some specific exceptions for Northwestern Ontario and British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut.


Currently the province has limited domestic travel restrictions, although there are limits on recreation to residents only.

If you plan to travel within the province for non-essential or recreational purposes, be aware that there are guidelines and potential restrictions that could affect your trip.

Golf courses and other outdoor individual recreation pursuits are now permitted in Saskatchewan in accordance with the guidelines in the Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan. Long-term campsites with self-supporting infrastructure (sewer and water) in private campgrounds and regional parks will reopen as of June 1, 2020, also in accordance with these guidelines. Only Saskatchewan residents will be allowed to camp in Saskatchewan provincial parks.


Though non-essential travel is not advised, Alberta presently has no inter-provincial domestic travel restrictions.

Responsible travel within Alberta is permitted, including to second homes, vacation homes, cabins, cottages, hotel/commercial accommodations, campgrounds and national and provincial parks, summer homes, cabins and cottages within Alberta is permitted.

Physical distancing and gathering restrictions still apply.

British Columbia

If you are travelling to B.C. from another province or territory within Canada, you are expected to follow the same travel guidelines as everyone else in B.C. and travel safely and respectfully.

Yes, there are lots of rules from coast-to-coast, so if you need advice or need help booking travel, contact me today! I am here to help!

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