TFC News

Fil-Cans not keen on crossing US border yet despite reopening

Rowena Papasin | TFC News Canada

Posted at Oct 21 2021 03:53 PM | Updated as of Oct 22 2021 01:53 PM

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It's been more than a year since Canadians have been able to drive across the country's border with the US. But on November 8, America will finally reopen its side of the border. It however won't be an easy drive back for Canadians because they still need to undergo a PCR Covid test before heading home.

"We need to continue to be prudent and careful," Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland pointed out. "People should expect to follow the rules."

PCR tests in the US can cost as high as 150 US dollars. But Canadians can also buy PCR test kits from local clinics or pharmacies, where prices can range from 150 to 200 Canadian dollars.

Travel expert Aiko Yao Lim advised Filipinos that it may be a good idea to just buy the kits in Canada. "At least they have it with them if they can’t find anything in the States... That way, you don’t have to scramble around in the States looking for a kit," Lim explained.

The PCR test requirement has dampened the excitement of kababayans who would otherwise like to cross the border. For shop worker Manny Almeida, it would be a 'waste of time and money.' He argued "if you’ll be there for about 8 hours max because of a road trip, some shopping, groceries... It's a waste of time and money because you're going to need a swab test result. And that's an additional cost of another 150 US dollars."

Another shop worker Jessie Hinay would rather stay in Canada or visit his relatives in the Philippines. "Pagbalik dito magbabayad ka, eh di dito na lang ako. Hindi na ako tatawid papuntang US (Upon return here, you'll be asked to pay, so I'll just stay here, I won't be crossing to the US)," Hinay said.

But Lim reminded kababayans that longer Philippine quarantine rules still apply to Canadians even if Canada is in the country's yellow list, for which quarantine should be shorter. That's because without an 'international vaccine certificate,' the Philippines still considers Canadians as unvaccinated even if they have had their two doses.

"We don’t have a reciprocal agreement with the Philippines and we don’t have the International Vaccine Certificate that the Philippines is requiring to get exemptions," Lim said. "As of now, travellers coming from Canada would still have to do a 7-night hotel quarantine, so 8 days, and then 6 days at home, for a total of 14 days."