The rules around traveling amid the COVID-19 pandemic have been dizzying for many over the past two years — and that includes some lesser known requirements still in place.
Fully vaccinated travelers are subject to a host of federal rules when they come home put in place under emergency orders under the Quarantine Act.
They include wearing a well-constructed mask in public spaces, which applies even if local mask mandates are not in effect, maintaining a list of contacts 14 days after entering the country and isolating for 10 days, if a traveler tests positive — even if the province requires a shorter period.
Several travelers told CTV News Toronto they didn’t know the rule about wearing a mask post-entry. Most said, after learning about it, they intended to continue wearing a mask in public over the next 14 days of their time in Canada.
The requirement caught the attention of some when Ontario’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Kieran Moore, talked about it at a press conference Monday.
“Please continue to respect the ongoing mask requirements that remain in place,” he said. “As well as the federal requirement for all international travellers.”
The federal government said the 14-day mask rule in public spaces applies to all travelers — by air or land — and even if it’s just a day trip.
Dr. Alon Vaisman, an infection disease and infection control physician at University Health Network, said, while not easily enforceable, the mandate is likely to have a base level protection for all Canadians.
“I think it probably makes a very small difference whether individuals who travel back to Canada mask or not, the vast majority of Covid here in Ontario is not travel related it’s coming from transmission between individuals,” Vaisman said.
He said he believes it’s hard to make rules for different countries at different times of the year as the pandemic shifts.
Vaisman said masking still makes sense whether someone has traveled or not, and it’s a good idea for people generally to think about their risk when masking.
Consider the ventilation, the workplace, family members and people who are immunocompromised, he said.