EDMONTON — As the federal government remains quiet on the next steps regarding the U.S.-Canada border, a new poll from Angus Reid suggests we remain leery about letting traffic flow freely again.
Seven in ten people want at least three-quarters of the country to be fully vaccinated before welcoming Americans for non-essential travel.
Conversely, 22 per cent want the open sign turned on immediately.
But the government is offering no sign yet on if the border closure will extend beyond July 21.
“Vaccination rates have to continue to go up, as it is, we are very encouraged by the past several weeks, but that has to continue,” said Dominic Leblanc, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs.
Earlier this month, the government removed mandatory quarantines for fully vaccinated travellers returning to Canada. The survey found more than half of Canadians supported that move.
“And we have said we’re prepared to take additional progressive steps over the coming weeks and months as it’s safe to do so,” said Leblanc.
The survey also found fears subsiding – with 53 per cent no longer concerned with the virus. Still, health officials are observing other countries battling resurgent COVID-19 cases – many driven by variants.
But the impact on hospitals has not been as dire.
“All the evidence that we’ve seen to date is that they haven’t been more severe in terms of causing more severe outcomes overall when compared to, let’s say, the original strain,” said Dr. Howard Njoo, the Deputy Chief Public Health Officer of Canada
Overall, 88 per cent believe the worst of the pandemic is behind us. But for those who hold onto some anxiety, they hope to have cases vanish or to push full vaccinations over 70 per cent before they feel at ease.
To get there may require doses for Canadians 12 and under – something officials continue to monitor.
“There’s clinical trials underway, there’s obviously a submission that needs to be made to our regulator Health Canada, then due diligence looking through the data and hopefully an approval of the vaccine,” said Njoo.