Mandatory hotel quarantine for international travel could be coming 'very quickly'

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TORONTO -- New restrictions requiring international travellers to quarantine in hotel rooms at their own expense if arriving or returning to the country are expected to come into effect “quickly,” according to a spokesperson from the Transport Minister.

On Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced new measures to discourage flying and hopefully prevent more cases of the novel coronavirus variants from coming into Canada.

Among them was the a requirement for arriving flyers to quarantine in an approved hotel for up to three days until they receive results from a COVID-19 test taken at the airport -- a requirement that he said would become official “in the coming weeks.”

While a specific date for the requirement has yet to be announced, a spokesperson for the Transport Minister Omar Alghabra, told CTV News in an email that with measures to reroute international flights coming into effect on Feb. 3, “Canadians should expect for the other measures to be in affect as soon as possible.”

“Although we haven’t given a date yet, it could come into effect very quickly,” the statement continued.

The hotel quarantine requirement could cost each traveller more than $2,000. 

At 11:59 p.m. ET on Feb. 3, existing international flights into Canada will be funnelled into four specific airports: the Montreal-Trudeau International Airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport, Calgary International Airport, and Vancouver International Airport.

The lack of details regarding the timing of the hotel quarantine requirement has left some travellers scrambling, unsure if they should try to get on planes home before the requirement kicks in, or if they should remain where they are to avoid the cost.