- Canada will allow cruise ships to resume operations as of Nov. 1, if they comply fully with public health requirements.
- Cruises were originally banned from Canadian waters until February 2022.
- Resumption of cruises will be dependent on public health conditions in areas where cruises will be docking.
Canada will allow cruise ships to operate in its waters starting Nov. 1 if operators comply fully with public health requirements, the country's minister of transport announced on Thursday.
Earlier this year, the Canadian government had extended its ban on cruises until the end of February 2022.
"Our government is now ready to announce that we are accelerating the timeline for resuming cruise ship activity. I am announcing today that cruise ships will be allowed in Canadian waters as of November 1st of this year," Omar Alghabra, Canada's transport minister, said during a news conference.
Canada's federal transportation department, in a statement Thursday, said it was ready to welcome back cruise ships earlier than anticipated due to the improved public health outlook in Canada as Covid cases drop and vaccinations increase.
The cruise industry brings in more than $4 billion annually for the Canadian economy, indirectly generates 30,000 jobs and is vital for the tourism sector, according to the transportation department.
This decision comes a week after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made clear that the country will not let in unvaccinated tourists anytime soon, despite the hurting tourism sector.
And the restart of cruises will be dependent on the public health situation at any given time especially in areas where the cruises will dock, Alghabra said Thursday. The Canadian government is still advising citizens to avoid all travel on cruise ships outside the country, he said.
In the U.S., the cruise industry has been one of the last to return to pre-pandemic operations after several high-profile outbreaks on ships last year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently allowed cruise operators to begin sailing again, with strict health protocols in place.
Canada and the U.S. extended the ban on non-essential travel across their land border until at least July 21.