Restrictions eased, COVID-19 immunity impacting travellers, travel agents say

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As the official number of COVID-19 cases slowly declines – and many people have been infected with the virus in the last wave – two Saskatchewan travel agents say they have noticed more people booking international travel.

“[As] things are getting better and the restrictions are getting [lifted], people are feeling more and more comfortable flying outside of Canada,” said Rajan Sagar, director of C World Travel in Regina.

Sagar said that over the past few weeks he has seen more bookings than at any other time since the pandemic began. He believes people have waited a long time to take vacations out of the country and are looking forward to it.

“Now I think it’s time for [people] start thinking about going to Mexico, or hot places anywhere just to have fun,” he said.

Rajan Sagar of C World Travel in Regina says people in Saskatchewan who haven’t traveled internationally since the pandemic began are likely leaving now due to news that restrictions may be lifted and cases decrease. (Zoom)

The Public Health Agency of Canada issued an advisory in mid-December advising people to avoid non-essential travel outside the country due to rising cases. Around the same time, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe encouraged people to be careful if they chose to travel, particularly during the Christmas holidays, but did not put any travel restrictions in place. provincial trip.

According to Sandy Farber, director and co-owner of Jubilee Travel in Saskatoon, customers who have had COVID-19 during this latest wave have booked international travel because they feel they don’t have to worry about it. to catch the virus.

Farber also noted that travelers who had COVID-19 10 to 180 days before departure can present their positive PCR test to avoid paying for one at the border.

“You have the golden ticket,” Farber said.

She said many tour operators and insurance companies have insurance plans specifically designed for COVID-19.

“There are a lot of little modules that have integrated really well in gaining people’s trust,” she said.

“We are a resilient industry. You give us a problem, we will try to solve it.”

Some are not sure to take the risk

While some who have had COVID-19 are leaving the country, others are not so eager.

Jennifer Rivière, her husband and their four children were planning to visit Rivière’s parents in Arizona later this month. Rivière and her two oldest children tested positive in early January after an outbreak at Radville Children’s High School. Her two youngest children and her husband were not infected.

Jennifer Riviere (seen here with her family on a pre-pandemic trip to Florida) says she is set to travel with her family to see her parents in Arizona this month, despite the fact that she and her two oldest children were sick with COVID -19 in January. (Submitted by Jennifer Rivière)

Although the family is fully immunized, she is reluctant to go because three members of her family are still at risk of getting sick.

“It’s a tough decision,” Rivière said. “I don’t want to be stuck there with someone in the hospital. Is it worth it ?

She said her parents took precautions while in Arizona and wanted to make sure they stayed safe.

The family also cannot take advantage of the PCR test waiver at the border, as they used rapid tests to confirm they had the virus. Rivière said her daughter was the only one who had a PCR test – as she was the first to show symptoms – but it came back negative. By the time Rivere and her son started showing symptoms, they didn’t feel ready to travel to Weyburn for their tests.

Rivière’s family has until the day before their planned trip to Arizona to cancel their seats on their flight and receive credit for future travel. (Submitted by Jennifer Rivière)

Rivière is grateful she paid extra when she bought the family’s plane tickets in November so they could cancel up until the day before they left and receive credit for future travel.

“There’s a kind of pressure of things we want to do, but on the other hand, we’re not going to die if we don’t go on a trip,” she said. “You have to keep that in perspective.”

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