COVID insurance to mixed doses: questions remain for Canadians travelling to the U.S.

EDMONTON (CityNews) — Tourism experts say there are lingering questions that need to be answered now that fully vaccinated Canadians will soon be able to drive to the United States.

After 19 months, the Biden administration will re-open land borders and ports of entry to non-essential travel in November.

WATCH: CityNews’ Melissa Duggan reports on the planned reopening of the U.S. land border to fully vaccinated visitors from Canada in November. 

“If I go to the States and when I have that PCR come back and I test positive, do I get stuck in the States, do I get to come home?” wonders Beth Potter, president of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada.

That’s one of many questions being floated around by the tourism industry following the much-anticipated news.

While it’s not mandated, insurance companies are offering COVID-19 coverage for travellers with concerns.

“Do not travel without travel medical insurance, and specifically, ensuring you have COVID-19 coverage,” said Omar Kaywan of Goose Insurance.


“[It] will not only cover you for the medical component but also the quarantine benefit, because a lot of people do test positive and have to quarantine for 14 days.”

The costs for the legally required COVID testing will also depend on where you get swabbed.

“You can currently get a COVID-19 PCR test for US$150 to $200,” said Kaywan. “In Canada, going into the U.S., anywhere between $130 to $150.”

Vaccines approved by either the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or the World Health Organization will be accepted by the U.S., but some uncertainty remains.

“It was great to also hear the U.S. acknowledge the AstraZeneca for Canadians going into the United States, but we still lack clarity for those who have mixed doses,” said Potter.

The question remains: will the border re-opening prompt a rush to the States?

It won’t if the opening of the Canadian border to Americans in August is any indication.

“It wasn’t certainly a spike of folks coming across the border,” said Potter. “We are still on a slow incline to recovery.”

Canada’s tourism economy was pegged at more than a $1 billion pre-pandemic. It’s estimated to be at half of that now. The belief is re-opening the border will instil confidence going both ways, although a return to normal remains a ways off.

“We can start to see fuller planes, fuller trains, fuller cars coming across the border next late spring, early summer. That will be a good indication that we’re on our way,” added Potter.

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