CALGARY -- Anyone looking for somewhere to go over the August long weekend are being reminded to keep their plans limited to their side of the Canada-U.S. border.

The advice comes from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) which states the ban on all of the country's border crossings is still in effect for the Aug. 3 holiday.

Under the rules, foreign nationals, including U.S. citizens, are not allowed into Canada for any optional or discretionary purpose.

Those include, but are not limited to:

  • Opening or checking on a cottage or seasonal home
  • Sightseeing or hiking
  • Boating across the border
  • Fishing or hunting
  • Visiting friends or partners (outside of spouses or common-law)
  • Attending a party or celebration
  • Picking up a pet

The CBSA says the prohibition is in effect at all ports of entry in all modes of transportation – land, marine, air and rail.

Immediate family members who meet the government's definition are allowed to cross, provided they are not showing any symptoms of COVID-19 and plan to stay a minimum of 15 days.

This week, the CBSA announced new restrictions against Americans seeking to enter Canada for the purposes of heading through the country to get to Alaska.

Under those rules, those looking to cross will only be able to do it at one of five approved crossings, will only be allowed to stay in Canada for a "reasonable" amount of time and must display a tag inside their vehicle which includes the date they must vacate the country.

Once the travellers reach Alaska, they are also required to report back to Canada border officers to inform them of their arrival back in the U.S.

Exploitation of the so-called "Alaska loophole" resulted in fines being given out to seven Americans who were sightseeing in Banff National Park in late June and, more recently, six to U.S. visitors who violated the Quarantine Act in B.C.

Between July 20 and 26, approximately 70,000 people crossed at land crossings into Canada as opposed to 1.4 million who crossed during the same period in 2019. There was also a 94 per cent drop in air travellers into Canada, the CBSA says. More than 47,000 people entered the country via that mode of travel while more than 860,000 U.S. and foreign citizens entered Canada in July 22 to 28, 2019.

Canada's travel ban is in force until at least Aug. 21, but may be prolonged as needed to contain the spread of COVID-19.