Whether you call it March break, spring break, mid-winter break (or something else), Canadians are encouraged not to venture outside of their home province for a weeklong jaunt this year as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to dominate our lives.
Some insurers are offering travel insurance packages that include different levels of coverage for COVID-19. But Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made his thoughts clear on the topic, telling Canadians, “don’t book a trip for spring break.” While he emphasized avoiding travelling abroad – the federal government’s non-essential travel advisory issued in March 2020 remains in effect – the Prime Minister’s warning also applies to domestic travel even if you carry a travel insurance policy in your back pocket.
A cautious Canuck might want to give thought to the risks involved with travelling to another province since Health Canada’s website advises us to “consider avoiding all non-essential trips within Canada, especially to areas that may have more COVID-19 spreading in communities.”
Meanwhile, the Ontario government advised Ontarians to curtail any travel plans they have in March, bumping the March break to mid-April for students and teachers.
That’s all well and good (you can’t say we haven’t been warned), but Canadians are divided on whether spring break should happen this year at all. One recent survey finds 31% of Canadians say spring break should proceed as normal, 29% say it ought to be cancelled altogether, and another 27% think postponing the weeklong holiday is the way to go.
Should I stay or should I go? Travelling within Canada
Ultimately, the decision to travel outside of your home province while the pandemic fluctuates between frighteningly horrible and awful is yours to make.
Though there are no federal travel restrictions in place for domestic travel, there may be provincial and territorial travel restrictions or quarantine requirements you should check before leaving home. Also, check often, since the provincial and territorial governments update these pages frequently:
- British Columbia
- New Brunswick
- Newfoundland and Labrador
- Northwest Territories
- Nova Scotia
- Prince Edward Island
Take precautions travelling within or outside of Canada
If you do decide to roll the dice and travel in March or April (whether domestically or internationally), consider these precautions:
- Stay home and do not travel if you develop COVID-19 symptoms prior to your departure
- If you develop symptoms while travelling, self-isolate and contact local health care authorities
- Follow all public health guidance and precautions in the region you visit
- Plan ahead and check with the places you intend to visit so you’re aware of any local closures or restrictions
- Be prepared to quarantine after arriving at your destination and when you return home
- Wear a face mask that covers your nose and mouth
- Use a tissue, or cough and sneeze into your arm and not your hands
- Steer clear of crowds and people who are sick
- Maintain a physical distance of two metres from others
- Frequently use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or wash your hands with soap and water
COVID-19 or not, if you travel, buy a travel insurance policy
No matter when or where you go when leaving your home province, travel insurance is a must-have. Even if you only plan on travelling to another province within Canada, some emergency medical treatments may not be covered by your provincial health card.