Canada opens its border to US citizens next month. Here’s what you’ll need to get in.

Emerald Lake in Carcross, YT. (Mike Swasey/KHNS)

Canada has published the list of requirements you’ll need to meet before you can get through the border.

Skagwegians have longed for the day they can drive over White Pass into Canada for about as long as the pandemic-related border restrictions have been in place. That day will finally come on Monday, Aug. 9.

Businesses in Carcross, the next town north in Canada’s Yukon Territory, are ready for Skagway traffic as well. Bonnie O’Conner, co-owner of Matthew Watson General Store in downtown Carcross, says they are open for business on the weekends, and additional traffic will be welcomed.

“You know, the shelves have been dusted off, and we’ve got stuff for sale, and, we’re ready,” O’Conner said.

To get into Canada, U.S. citizens will need a negative molecular COVID-19 test within 72 hours of reaching the border. In Skagway, the Dahl Memorial Clinic offers rapid testing free of charge, by appointment only. The Skagway Traditional Council offers free tests as well, but it may take multiple days to get the results.

In Haines, SEARHC offers a rapid test for $145. The sliding scale fee structure would apply to any SEARHC patients, and insurance companies may cover testing as well, but it’s best to check your individual policy.

People entering Canada for nonessential travel may be subjected to a random rapid test at the border, which could take 20-30 minutes.

After you have your testing complete, you’ll need to register with ArriveCAN. The app is a free download for smartphones through the Canada.ca website. It can also be accessed through a web portal. However, be wary of sites that ask for payment — there are several third-party hoax sites that charge money. ArriveCAN is free to use.

Finally, make sure you have all travel documents with you, including a passport and vaccination card. The Canadian customs agent will need to check those documents and your ArriveCAN status. The program will store your information and can be accessed offline after all information is uploaded.

ArriveCAN gives you a 72-hour window prior to arrival at the border to upload your information. Photos of both your passport and your vaccine card will be required.

Any forged vaccination records will be subject to a $750,000 fine and up to six months imprisonment under Canada’s Quarantine Act.

Only fully vaccinated travelers will be allowed to enter for nonessential travel. Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines all meet the requirements.

According to Canadian officials, tour operators will be allowed to bring groups into Canada if all group passengers meet the same regulations as individual passengers. But the logistics of getting everyone tested ahead of time seems daunting to local tour operator Billi Clem who owns Klondike Tours.

“I have no idea how we’re going to get all that testing done,” said Clem.

In order to be properly prepared, any cruise ship passengers that want to book a trip to Canada would need to test within 72 hours of arriving in Skagway, but there is no word yet if that can be done onboard the ships.

Re-entry for American citizens back into the United States will not change. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, all U.S. citizens that enter Canada will be welcomed back home to the United States upon return.

But vaccinated Canadians? They’ll be barred from crossing the U.S. border for nonessential travel until at least Aug. 21.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify the Canadian government’s new protocols are for people entering Canada for nonessential travel. People entering for essential travel, such as bringing goods or services and other exemptions, are not affected by the new protocols.

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