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Travel in the time of COVID-19

Is this the new normal?
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When COVID-19 first arrived in Canada in the spring of 2020, many believed the virus would be gone by the summer and that people would be travelling again by July or August.

Sadly, the world will soon be entering its third year of the pandemic, and with the new emerging variants and constant change in travel restrictions and requirements, we must ask ourselves, “is this the new normal?”

Manager Chris Mayne says, “After the initial flood of cancellations in 2020 of winter vacations and spring wedding groups it was hoped that summer travel across Canada or to Europe would gradually return. In its place, summer coach tours to Europe and family travel across Canada were completely cancelled.”

Mayne adds that many had to rebook their cancelled spring travel plans for late fall only to realize that by November and December, they would still not be able to travel comfortably. As a result, they ended up rebooking, once again, for winter and spring 2021.

While the usual January travel season saw a slight return to winter vacations and last-minute sunshine selloffs, by the end of January 2021, the Government had cancelled all non-essential travel to the Caribbean and sunshine destinations, not to resume until May.

Adding to the disappointment, bus tours, cruises and general travel came to a stand-still for a second summer with significant quarantine requirements in place for the few who still needed to travel for family emergencies or specific business situations.

On the bright side, by the fall of 2021, travel restrictions improved somewhat as governments lifted some of the more onerous quarantine requirements upon return to Canada, and some people took advantage of the opportunity to catch up on missed vacations.

More recently, in addition to tests required two days before re-entering Canada, the federal government has mandated testing upon arrival back into the country, and in some cases, in addition to tests also required before travellers leave the country they were visiting.

While this process may seem daunting, the tradeoff is that if travellers meet the vaccination requirements at the time of travel, they can go places rather than cancelling plans outright. Looking ahead, this may mean that some level of testing, either by rapid antigen tests or the more thorough PCR tests, will likely be an ongoing requirement.

Mayne acknowledges that, “In a day and age when people are exposed to so many choices for worldwide travel and think of travel experiences for sightseeing or vacation as an important part of their life, accepting and managing the risks of travel during COVID-19 may become the new normal.”

Today, ‘fully vaccinated’ may mean being tripled vaccinated and avoiding large crowds when travelling may now be considered the best way to see and enjoy travel. Even so, many are looking forward to going away while still minimizing the health risks.

Mayne emphasizes that, “There is so much to see and enjoy around the world, not just sunshine and warm beaches, that for many, the call to travel is an irresistible one but needs to still be enjoyed safely”

Despite the challenging times, Mayne Travel Services is pleased to continue providing top-level service to its clients. Call Mayne Travel at 705-474-1532 to speak with Patricia, Debbie, Nancy, Michelle or Chris.