COVID-19 update – No mandatory vaccination for school staff; US border reopening

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Allyson Beauregard

QUEBEC – With the epidemiological situation appearing to be under control, the province announced on October 27 that it will not mandate vaccination for school staff, although it’s still strongly recommended. The decision was also made because the effects of contracting the virus are less severe among school-aged children and youth and about 90% of school staff are already full vaccinated.
However, for now, the mandatory vaccination policy for health workers still stands, although a legal challenge is underway in Quebec’s Superior Court.

Mandatory double vaccination of all health workers is supposed to be required as of November 15 or employees face suspensions without pay, a deadline that was extended from October 15 due to fears of a staffing crisis. Recently, Premier Francois Legault has hinted it could be extended again or the mandate could be altered to apply only to certain sectors or regions. What happens will depend on how successful the provincial nurse recruitment campaign is, he said.
Since October 16, the government is no longer reimbursing unvaccinated health workers, who must be tested at least three times a week, for their time and costs of travelling to and from testing sites (if they are outside of their workplace). They must now assume all costs related to the testing and do it outside of their work day.
Restrictions eased
Since November 1, there are no longer capacity limits in restaurants and bars/ clubs and the distance needed between tables is reduced to 1 meter. Group bookings are authorized without limits on the number of people attending, with certain exceptions.
US border reopening
The United States’ land and sea borders will re-open to non-essential travel for fully-vaccinated visitors from Canada and Mexico on November 8.
As of press time, it was uncertain yet whether travelers crossing into the US at a land border will have to show proof of a negative COVID test, but those entering by air will (taken within 3 days of boarding the flight) and both will have to show proof of vaccination. Canada still requires those entering the country, regardless of how, to show a negative COVID test.Essential travelers haven’t had to show proof of full vaccination to travel between Canada and the US, but the US government has announced it will be required as of January 2022.
According to reports, the U.S. Center for Disease Control has confirmed it will recognize all vaccines authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the World Health Organization (WHO) as well as mixed doses of vaccines.