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'Finally': Vancouverites react to news that Canada will likely drop vaccine requirements, ArriveCAN app

"ArriveCAN to be 'optional'...what's this achieving?"
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Travellers across Canada have expressed mixed reactions to the news that Canada will likely be dropping its COVID-19 vaccine travel requirements.

Travellers across Canada have expressed mixed reactions to news that Canada will likely be dropping its COVID-19 vaccine travel requirements.

The federal Liberal cabinet is considering whether to renew COVID-19 vaccine mandates and mandatory random testing for travellers, a senior government official told The Canadian Press on the condition of anonymity.

The federal government has gradually scaled back COVID-19 travel restrictions over the course of the spring and summer, as booster shots became more widely available in Canada.

The current measures are set to expire on Sept. 30.

If the requirements are dropped, the ArriveCAN app, launched in April 2020, will likely also become "optional." The app has served as a tool for the federal government to screen travellers entering Canada for coronavirus as well as to ensure that they had suitable quarantine plans.

Once COVID-19 vaccination was required for travel, the app carried traveller vaccine information, too. 

Vancouverites react that news that Canada to drop ArriveCAN

Many travellers consider the relaxation of the rules to be "progress," noting that the process has significantly slowed down tourism in the country. Others note that it has made it difficult for Canadians who are returning home. 

Progress. Vaccine mandates and ArriveCan are out! Finally. πŸ˜‰ #Canada #COVID19 #VaccineMandate #ArriveCan #Freedom pic.twitter.com/a4F1OOWWpX

— Joshua Nash (@joshuadnash) September 21, 2022

A Vancouver-based traveller shared a negative experience they had at YVR after being randomly selected for the off-site COVID-19 travel testing program. They claim that the "Lifelabs are understaffed" and you will "eventually get a test kit but [you] can’t go in person."

After booking an online appointment, the frustrated air passenger says a Lifelabs employee didn't show up for it. As a result, they called in and eventually got "supervised" over a phone call. Finally, they completed the test package and drove it to a nearby Lifelabs. 

"Because the system shuts down [and] is inefficient you have basically spent [an] amazing amount of hours (mostly full day) for this process," they said, noting that travellers are "penalized with [a] 24 [hour] rush."

#arrivecan #covidtest #canada #canpoli Let me explain random Covid test selection for land crossing. Lifelabs are understaffed. You eventually get a test kit but can’t go in person. You book video appt online. Life labs don’t show up for online appt because understaffed. 1/2

— deb gee (@debster_92) September 21, 2022

Many people have expressed concern about the ArriveCAN app becoming "optional," however. They say this might make it easier for the government to re-implement again in the future. 

Some people don't mind having to fill out the ArriveCAN app, with several describing the process as "easy." That said, others have expressed that there should be some changes. Many of them say there should be a paper option. 

With a file from the Canadian Press.