The Canadian government extended a ban on cruise ships until at least 2022 just weeks before its initial restrictions were set to expire.
The ban, which has been extended until Feb. 28, 2022, applies to all cruise vessels carrying more than 100 people. The ban was first implemented in March 2020 and was set to expire Feb. 28, 2021.
"As Canadians continue to do their part to reduce the spread of COVID-19, our government continues to work hard to ensure Canada's transportation system remains safe," Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra said in a statement on Thursday. "Temporary prohibitions to cruise vessels and pleasure craft are essential to continue to protect the most vulnerable among our communities and avoid overwhelming our health care systems. This is the right and responsible thing to do."
In addition to cruise ships, the country has banned all adventure-seeking pleasure craft from entering Arctic waters as well as prohibited passenger vessels carrying more than 12 people from sailing the Arctic coastal waters, including by Nunatsiavut, Nunavik, and the Labrador Coast. Local arctic residents are exempt.
Those who violate the pleasure craft ban will be subject to penalties, including a $5,000 fine per day for individuals or a $25,000 fine per day for groups or corporations.
The government has also warned Canadians against boarding a cruise ship outside Canada even as reports of Canadians flying south to the U.S. to escape the winter blues have emerged.
Canada has cracked down on people coming into the country from abroad in recent weeks, expanding testing requirements for returning residents and mandating a three day hotel quarantine. Major airlines have also cancelled flights from Canada to Mexico and the Caribbean.
The land border between Canada and the U.S. remains closed until at least Feb. 21.
While Canada won't welcome cruise ships anytime soon, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lifted its No-Sail Order in October, allowing cruise ships to plan an eventual return to sailing. Since then, two U.S. cruise lines have committed to requiring passengers to be fully vaccinated before boarding.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.
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