Relaxing the 14 Day Quarantine on Return to Canada: Survey Results

Relaxing the 14 Day Quarantine on Return to Canada: Survey Results

Last Updated on March 2, 2021 by tripcentral

This survey was conducted October 6-13, 2020

Two-thirds of tripcentral.ca customers are interested in booking international travel, but there are many factors preventing them from booking right now. A link to a pdf presentation and detailed survey results are offered below.

Our hypothesis was that the mandatory 14-Day Quarantine (isolation) on return to Canada was a major economic deterrent, and further, a serious inconvenience even if you are retired or can work from home.

For those “extremely interested” in booking, the required quarantine on return (QoR) was the most important factor at 80% of respondents. For those “very interested” it was second at 72% and concerns about being quarantined abroad was slightly higher. For those “somewhat interested”, the QoR was the 7th highest reason at 58% response.

So, there’s much more going on here than just the quarantine on return.

Calgary Airport Test Pilot – 2 Negative Tests

Passengers returning from outside Canada to Calgary will have the option to take a free COVID-19 test on arrival. Once you have a negative test result (up to 2 days later), you will not need to quarantine, provided you stay in Alberta. You must also commit to taking a second test 6 days later, and of course, if you test negative again, there is no need to quarantine.

There is still the option of not taking the test and quarantining in isolation for 14 days at home.

We tested a similar idea in our survey. We asked our customers if they would consider receiving two home tests on arrival back in Canada (quicker). Take the first test when you get home. If it’s negative you do not need to quarantine, if positive, quarantine and contact your doctor. The proposal was to take the second test 5 days after as a safety, and only if you tested positive would you need to quarantine.

The Health Canada mobile app exchanges random codes by Bluetooth connection with other mobile phones with the app running where we are within 2 metres of someone for at least 15 minutes. If we all had this downloaded and running, it would be an anonymous way to communicate to others you have encountered of a positive test. It works. We know of people that were contacted anonymously via the app and who went for subsequent testing.

Until such time that there is widespread vaccination, all we can do is mitigate the risk of transmission. For some, that means not travelling at all and significantly limiting contact with others. For others, it means as much mitigation to reduce (but not eliminate) transmission to a manageable level, followed by aggressive testing and contact tracing. Mass testing at Calgary airport is a positive development for the reduction of community spread until such time as vaccinations are widespread.

Concerns about being quarantined abroad / insurance coverage

This is the top reason for those very and somewhat interested, and number 3 on the list for those extremely interested in booking international travel.

For several months up until late August, there were no companies offering out of province medical insurance that covered expenses related to COVID-19 while travelling. The market responded with coverage for sale, and it did not increase the cost enough to be a deterrent.

But these policies all cover medical expenses for up to $200,000 and “shelter in place” at your destination. They do cover modest accommodations and incidentals. tripcentral.ca sells Manulife that does offer this coverage. In addition, many of our suppliers are offering this free for a limited time to stimulate bookings.

If you still have concerns about being stranded abroad, you can buy an insurance policy to cover Air Ambulance coverage that includes COVID-19 patient transfer and even patients that are intubated. It’s available to Canadian residents under 75 years old, and they offer family plans. We have not vetted this company, but it is an example of the kind of coverage available. Over the coming weeks, we will be offering our customers a vetted air ambulance insurance plan offer.

Airline, Hotel, and Supplier Refund Policies

This is the number two or three reason for those interested in booking travel, and a solid number 5 on the list for those not interested in travelling if the quarantine on return were lifted. It is consistently chosen as a reason by over 70% of our customers who answered the survey.

We are constantly advocating our suppliers to do more to reduce the loss of funds on cancellation. While there are many angry customers out there with travel credits rather than refunds, at least there is not a complete loss of economic value – even if it is trapped in credit rather than back in your bank account.

Final payment due dates have been reduced from 42 or more days to 25 days for most suppliers. We believe that even 25 days is unnecessary. If deposits were lower and the final payment due dates were reduced further, it would reduce the risk of loss. If our suppliers could offer refunds for specific conditions such as the airline is no longer flying, or you tested positive for COVID-19 and cannot travel, or if case counts in your destination were rising, we believe this would stimulate demand.

Please remember, we do not set the deposit, final, or refund policies of our airline, tour operator and cruise line suppliers. One downside to more relaxed cancellation and refund policies is the chance that suppliers don’t have enough passengers to justify operating flights. This can be very frustrating when you are willing and able to go. The easier it is to cancel with a refund, the more uncertain the operation of flights are. Cancelled flights for lack of demand is not something travellers on previously jam-packed flights are used to.

Social Distancing. Sanitization, Aircraft Air Circulation

There is some lower-level concern raised by our customers for these things. Travel suppliers have gone a long way to meet the expectations of customers in these areas.

For the most part, airlines, hotels, even cruise lines (testing in Europe) are doing everything they can, just as your local grocery store or restaurants are adapting.

The more interested you are in booking international travel, the less you are concerned about these items. For those not interested at this time, sanitization was raised by 62% and social distancing 71%. Compare that to 42% and 55% for those somewhat interested, 28% and 32% for those very interested, and only 14% and 15% for those extremely interested.

Either those more interested are more aware of what airlines and travel suppliers are doing in this area, or it’s simply the difference in risk tolerance of contracting or transmitting the virus even in these conditions.

Here’s a few recent blog articles on the topics:

Mandatory Mask Wearing on Flights

Airports and airlines have mandatory mask requirements, and this appears to be a concern for anywhere from 16.5% to 21% of our survey respondents.

This would indicate that a little less than one-fifth of our customers will not travel until the end of the pandemic when masks are no longer required.

Masks have long been a regular occurrence for high-density travel (flights, trains, metro, even urban walking) in heavily populated places in Asia.  We suspect that a fundamental behaviour change will take place even after the pandemic ends, where many will choose to continue to wear masks to mitigate the transmission of the common cold.

When will you be comfortable to book travel?

Our survey clearly indicates this depends on how interested you are right now.  If you’re one of the 26% extremely interested to book travel if the 14-day quarantine on return to Canada were lifted, you’re far more likely to book between right now and winter 2021 (56% of 26% extremely interested).

If you’re not interested in booking travel if the Government lifts the quarantine right now, under 15% would consider booking between now and winter 2021.

It’s very much a personal decision.  Enjoy browsing the tripcentral.ca site, and we’ll be here when you’re ready.

32 Comments

  1. I would 100 percent travel if they lifted the 14 day quarantine

    • My spouse and I would definitely travel if the 14 day quarantine were lifted.

    • I would travel for sure. Can’t afford 14 days quarantine…hope we could just do test at the airport.

    • the 14 day quarantine would be too much of a pain

  2. I travelled to the Caribbean on Oct 3 – Oct 11/2020. Other than a minor delay in Toronto due to a mechanical issue, flying to out of the country was fine. The airline (West Jet) have made changes to their services that made me feel safe while travelling. My advice; this is the best time to travel. We all need a break. Just follow the new protocols and use your common sense. The 14-day quarantine should be implemented for those who test positive from day one. I am in full support of administering testing at the airport upon arrival. I had to get a COVID 19 test with a negative result prior to returning to work. The test took 3 seconds…literally. I received my results within 24 hours. This is at the end of the 14-day quarantine. I could have avoided losing 2 weeks’ worth of income had the testing been done sooner than later. Having said that, I would do it again just to get away. LOL

  3. The biggest problem is in travelling to some countries like Curacao in that some countries require a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of departure time from an accredited laboratory. Two issues here i) obtaining a test and subsequent results within 72 hours and ii) what happens if a positive result occurs with respect to a refund.

  4. I would travel tomorrow if there was no quarantine period in place. These new tests that give you the result in 15-30 minutes should be used for travelers. You test negative you are good to go. And yes, I would test again in 5-7 days. I can’t wait to book my next trip, but it is all hinging on removing the quarantine period which is ridiculous.

  5. I would 100 percent travel if they lifted the 14 day quarantine

    • This is absurd, that everyone comes to Canada to stay home for 2 weeks.
      Should be a test centre at the airport, people who test negative should not be forced to stay home

  6. We are still not sure about travelling…But can’t wait until we can safely…

  7. I think the 14-day should stay. You can’t believe what they say in Cuba, the D R and even Mexico where they wipe the inside of room coffee cups and glasses with a rag that they just used to clean the washroom with when I caught it being done and spoke to the manager, they thought it was no big deal.

    • We think Alberta is on the right track. Testing everyone coming home will help identify cases requiring quarantine and medical observation. The protocols for sanitization underway at resorts is not comparable to the past. The decision to travel at this time or in the near future is a highly personal one and we appreciate your comments.

  8. I have already travelled outside of Canada as soon as I found an insurance company who would cover me for Covid.. I have had no problems what so ever so far. Am returning Nov.7th from Florida

  9. We would definitely travel anywhere if the Maritime bubble would do the same as Calgary is doing for international travel.

  10. Just not so safe today travelling-in planes for instance..too much closeness-airborne germs..bathrooms germs-and then the landing..
    don’t feel safe rather wait till and when this is over..not safe anywhere..and numbers going higher -countries in curfew and lockdowns..whats the world coming to??

  11. I would travel if Sunwing didn’t double their prices. I got a voucher for what I paid in March last year, when this whole thing started. Now Sunwing will not match the price I paid last year … we simply have to pay more. Weare unable to travel because its too expensive!!!!

    • There may be a difference based on the original time of year you had booked, and looking at a different time of year now. We don’t see any evidence that prices have gone up. It’s important to compare apples to apples – the same time of year. Prices and promotions do fluctuate, but you should not see double unless it is a dramatic difference in dates/seasons.

  12. I am so missing Cuba and can hardly wait to travel there again. Yes, looking forward to the 14 days being lifted with a quarantine alternative.

  13. How long is the incubation period? 5 days? Why 14 days of quarantine? Quarantine for 3 to 5 days. Not many people quarantine period!!

  14. My spouse and I would definitely travel outside of Canada if the 14 day quarantine was lifted.

  15. Definitely would book if quarantine was lifted!

  16. We took a leap of faith as a family of 4 and travelled to Madeira Island, Portugal 18-25 Oct where they do free covid testing at the airport upon arrival and send you the result in 6-12 hours to your hotel where you will be quarantined. We got ours in 8 hours and we were all negative so therefore free to enjoy a wonderful vacation on what we then knew to be a relatively safe place to be. Testing at the airport….that’s the answer. Would bolster travel and enable the reintroduction of friends and family.

  17. The 14 day quarantine is all that is holding us back. We need this change in Toronto.

  18. If the airports offered rapid testing before and after travelling, along with another rapid test 5-7 days upon returning, I would be booking a trip right now.

  19. I recently lost my wife 14 weeks ago. I am in desperate need of a vacation to the caribbean. I know they test you when you land in Cuba and within 24 hrs you get your results. I wish in Toronto they had rapid testing like they are doing in Calgary so you don’t have to quarantine for 14 days. That is the only thing keeping me from getting away as I live in a small condo so staying home would drive me crazy after 2 days.

  20. Save travel industry. Save jobs in Canada and poor Caribbean countries. Let us out We need our mental health and sun. Get rid of the quarantine. Will travel immediately. Thanks for the updates.

  21. I would not travel now, quarantine or no quarantine. And I love to travel and have traveled frequently. Too many outbreaks have been linked to travel. It is not yet safe to do so. So until something changes, sit tight. The travel industry is trying to woo you back with inadequate insurance plans and cancellation plans. “We all need a break, it’s too hard on our mental health”. Really!! What the people of the World Wars & other major conflicts went through. They didn’t get a break & they didn’t whine and cry. Certainly a different breed today. Soft, very soft, because of technology, perhaps. Want their cake & eat it too!

    • You are part of the 1/3 of our customers that are not comfortable to travel if the quarantine on arrival were to be lifted. We love you all! We feel that if travel can be PROVEN to be done safely, those who want to travel should be permitted. There would be no point in throwing caution into the wind and find that travel contributes to the risk to our health care system.

  22. We would certainly travel if there was no 14 day quarantine period.

  23. I have a trip to hike the Grand Canyon booked for March 2021 and I haven’t lost hope of being able to go without the 14 day quarantine afterwards. If rapid testing allows us to go sooner then I will be going to the Caribbean in Jan/Feb too.

  24. If the winter in Canada wouldn’t have been so long, we could thought it out for another year not to go anywhere, but people especially older people who are not retired yet need to go in sunny places and get vitamin D. Having people in Canada in this long and cold winter make people more depressed and hospitals and doctors will have to deal with more depressed people

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