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YVR sorting out logistics of new federal travel requirements

Under the new rules, all international travellers will need to get tested for COVID-19 at the airport after they arrive in Canada
Vancouver International Airport is sorting out the details of Canada's new COVID-19 travel rules. The airport is just one of four across the country that can accept incoming international flights.

Vancouver International Airport is working to sort out the logistics of the federal government’s latest COVID-19 travel requirements.

“The big one that is consuming our time right now…is testing upon arrival at Canadian airports,” Alana Lawrence, YVR director of government relations, told the Richmond Community COVID-19 task force on Tuesday. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Friday that all international arrivals will have to undergo a mandatory PCR test at the airport, upon arrival in Canada.

“So (there is) a lot of coordination at this point around the logistics of how do we do this, and ensure that everybody stays safe and healthy and we don’t create another logistical hiccup in the airport,” said Lawrence.

“And then, how do we ensure that the provincial government is also getting the information that they need as we go forward.”

She added that the airport is still waiting to hear when the new testing requirements will come into effect.

The federal government has said it hopes the measure will roll out “as soon as possible in the coming weeks.”

As they await their test results, all travellers arriving in Canada will need to book a federally-approved hotel for three nights at their own expense, which is estimated at about $2,000.  

Those who test positive will need to complete their 14-day mandatory quarantine at a federally-approved hotel, while those who test negative will be allowed to isolate at home. 

Nancy Small, CEO of Tourism Richmond, told the task force that there are “lots of moving parts” and the hotels that will be used as quarantine sites under the new travel rules haven’t been identified yet.

“But obviously…we hope for whatever small amount of business there will be from this will be at the forefront,” she said.

A spokesperson for the Public Health Agency of Canada told the Richmond News that locations of designated quarantine sites are not made public.

Trudeau also announced Friday that all international flights can only land at four Canadian airports: YVR, Calgary, Montreal and Toronto.

While this rule has been the case for some time, said Lawrence, it will now also include charter and private aircraft.