WestJet and Air Canada enter into COVID-19 testing agreement with Hawaii
CALGARY -- Canadians seeking sunny days and hot temperatures for the Christmas holidays are being offered a new opportunity by Canada's major airlines.
WestJet and Air Canada have signed an agreement with the state of Hawaii to allow guests travelling to the islands a chance to bypass the mandatory 14-day quarantine.
In order to do so, the airlines are offering pre-flight COVID-19 testing for all guests.
A negative test within 72 hours of departure to Hawaii will allow passengers to disembark from the plane and enjoy their vacation, quarantine-free.
David Ige, the governor of Hawaii, says the state has the lowest COVID-19 case rate in the U.S. He's also confident that WestJet and Air Canada are taking all the proper precautions.
"It is a layered approach to providing the health and safety of our residents and the travellers as well," he said during a livestreamed media conference Thursday.
"This testing travel program is one layer. We are the only state that is doing thermal screening."
CANADA-U.S. BORDER REMAINS CLOSED UNTIL DEC. 21
A border closure, meant to halt all non-essential travel at all land crossings along the Canada-U.S. border is expected to remain in place until late next month, CTV News learned Wednesday.
The restriction — first imposed in March to limit the spread of COVID-19 — is set to expire on Nov. 21 but sources say it will be extended.
With COVID-19 cases continuing to climb on both sides of the border, the decision to continue restricting travel is not surprising, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and health officials have said over the course of the pandemic that until the spread is under control, easing up on the border measures would be a risk to citizens in both countries.
There is no prohibition in place for air travellers, as long as they abide by all public health regulations in the state or province that they land in, including self-isolating themselves from others for a period of 14 days.
MORE THAN 220 COVID-19 DEATHS IN HAWAII
According to Hawaii's department of health, the state announced 71 new cases of coronavirus over the past 24 hours in addition to one death.
Since the pandemic began, there has been 16,734 cases and 223 deaths recorded in the state.
With files from CTV News' Rachel Aiello