We recognize that it is an unprecedented time in Alberta and the world right now, and hope you are keeping safe and well. As our part to help reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), our staff will be working remotely until further notice to protect our staff and clients.
Information is being released daily by governments with regards to the pandemic. We know that it can be very difficult to keep track of everything as we also try to take care of ourselves and our loved ones. Here are a few key details we think our insurance customers might like to be aware of.
The Borders Have Been Tightened
International flights are now only able to land at four airports: Calgary, Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver.
Everyone returning to Canada from another country is being asked to self-isolate for 14 days. Guidelines for self-isolation can be found here.
International travelers landing back home will be asked if they are experiencing any symptoms such as coughing, trouble breathing, or fever. They will also need to acknowledge that they are being asked to self-isolate for 14 days. The reason is that the vast majority of confirmed cases have been travel-related, meaning they either originated in a different country or were caught from someone who had recently travelled.
- People returning from Italy, Iran, or the Hubei province of China must contact Alberta Health Services within 24 hours of arriving and provide their contact information.
- Travelers trying to enter Canada are required to answer health screening questions.
- Canada Border Services Agency officers have been advised to watch carefully for anyone who is visibly ill. Some passengers may be asked to wear a mask.
- Those who appear to be sick will be referred to public health authorities to be further assessed.
- Arriving passengers will be made aware of COVID-19 procedures as set forth by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).
- Travelers will receive handouts advising how to monitor for symptoms and protocols for self-isolation.
- Signage will reinforce the importance of closely following health guidelines.
Under the Quarantine Act, it is against the law to fail to report that you were exposed to someone with COVID-19 if you know you were.
COVID-19 Travel Advice For Those Who Have to Leave the Country
Non-essential travel outside of Canada (and even Alberta) is strongly discouraged. As the situation is rapidly evolving, there is no guarantee that you will be able to return at your scheduled time. It’s possible that you could end up stuck at your destination for a very long time.
It may be too difficult to leave Canada, regardless. Beginning Sunday, March 22, WestJet is suspending all international flights to focus on rescue flights in partnership with Canada’s government.
No travel on cruise ships is advised.
The Government of Canada is maintaining an up-to-date travel advisories page for those who absolutely must leave Canada. You can find countries with reported cases of COVID-19 here. Also listed here are the current number of confirmed cases and probable cases.
For Your Trip
Recommendations for precautions while traveling can be found here. COVID-19 travel advice provided includes:
- Remaining away from large crowds and mass gatherings.
- Staying away from anyone who appears ill.
- Following the advice of public health authorities in the area.
- Washing your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
- If soap is not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoiding touching your face with unclean hands.
- Covering your nose or mouth with your arm if you sneeze or cough.
- Disposing of tissues quickly and then washing your hands after.
Although travel is highly discouraged, at this time, travel insurance is still available from several providers. The coverage provided is highly contingent on the situation, however. Some providers are no longer providing cancellation coverage for people who need to change their plans because of COVID-19.
It is important that you be completely transparent with your travel insurance provider regarding your destination, duration of stay, reason for travelling, and current health status. If you are still able to purchase travel insurance, we recommend policies that include coverage for accidental death, trip cancellation, baggage and personal effects, and document replacement. Contact us for help obtaining a policy and for more information.
What Should I Do if I Feel Sick?
- Alberta Health Services advises the following steps should you start to feel ill.
- Use the online assessment tool, which will advise if you should be tested for COVID-19.
- If you have been advised to be tested, call Health Link at 811.
- Do not go to a physician’s office, a health care facility, or a lab without consulting with Health Link 811 first.
- Call 911 if you are very ill and need immediate medical attention.
Support each other and take care of yourselves.