At the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montreal, American museum-goers from New York, Massachusetts and Vermont helped turn a pre-pandemic exhibition on Leonard Cohen, the gravelly-voiced Montreal-born balladeer, into a blockbuster. But the museum’s director, John Zeppetelli, said knowing friends and colleagues in the art world who had contracted the virus while attending art fairs last year in the United States and elsewhere had underscored the need for caution. “Public health has to supersede economic concerns,” Mr. Zeppetelli said.
Covid-19 tests, quarantines and a cruise ship ban create obstacles to travel.
As it is, Canada itself is experiencing a lethal second wave, with a curfew in effect in Quebec, a lockdown in most parts of Ontario, the country’s most populous province, and border restrictions in each of the country’s Atlantic coast provinces that have required even Canadians from other provinces to quarantine.
“The general public is not concerned about the tourism sector, they don’t want to see Americans or French or Germans, for that matter,” said Frederic Dimanche, director of the Ted Rogers School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Ryerson University in Toronto. “The Biden administration is seen as a welcome change. But the vaccine isn’t a cure-all since it will take months to roll out.”
Americans who want to visit Canada will find many obstacles.
Since Jan. 7, travelers arriving on international flights to Canada, including Americans who have dual citizenship or an immediate family member who is Canadian, have had to show a negative Covid-19 test, conducted within 72 hours before departure. Under new rules, they will need to be tested again upon arrival and wait for three days at their own expense in an airport quarantine hotel at an estimated cost of about $1,575. Anyone who tests positive will have to quarantine elsewhere for 11 more days.
The Canadian government has also banned cruise ships with more than 100 people from Canadian waters until February 2022.
A backlash against foreign travel in both directions of the border has also been fanned in recent months in Canada after a slew of politicians were caught sneaking away on sunny vacations. Among them was Ontario’s former finance minister Rod Phillips, who was forced to resign in December after posting a recorded Christmas Eve video message on Twitter. The video showed him sitting next to a fireplace, wearing a sweater and downing eggnog, while he was, in fact, on vacation on the French island of St. Barts. Canadians, forced to stay at home, were irate.
Travel shaming has also been directed at the thousands of Canadian snowbirds who have traveled to the United States during the pandemic, decamping to Florida and Arizona, among other places. They have been circumventing American land border restrictions by traveling by plane and shipping their cars and pets separately.