COVID-19: Travel

NOTICE: At this time, the Thunder Bay District Health Unit is recommending that all residents avoid non-essential travel outside of Northwestern Ontario, regardless of an individual’s vaccination status. Full details can be found in the December 16, 2021 news release, as well as in the information below.


Non-essential travel to Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan is also not recommended, as outlined in the December 2, 2021 news release.


Travel Guidance

Please be mindful that COVID-19 is still with us and that with the highly transmissible Omicron variant spreading rapidly, travel poses an increased risk. Different areas of the province, country and neighbouring states, have different levels of the virus.

At this time, the safest option is to stay in the area of your home community or in the TBDHU region. 

To stay safe wherever you are, continue to follow recommended public health measures and become fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as you are able.

For provincial direction regarding travel, please see Ontario's Travelling and Returning.

For national direction regarding travel, including international travel, please see Government of Canada's COVID-19: Travel, Testing, Quarantine and Borders.

Tips for Staying Safe While Travelling

If you need to travel for urgent or essential reasons, here are steps to keep yourself and others safe:

  • Become fully vaccinated against COVID-19, or receive your third or booster dose if you are eligible, before you leave.
  • Inform yourself on the COVID-19 situation of where you are travelling to and follow any guidance from the local public health agency in that area.
  • Practice the usual personal protective measures such as physical distancing, wearing a mask and frequent hand washing or use of hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid gatherings and crowded spaces.
  • Limit interactions with others. Choose outside activities rather than inside where possible. 
  • Don’t travel if you, or someone you are traveling with, have any symptoms or feel sick. Isolate at home and get tested for COVID-19 if you are eligible.
  • In general, wherever you are, monitor yourself for symptoms. If you have symptoms or you feel sick, isolate and follow the guidance of the local public health agency. 

Remember the 3 Cs

The activities you do while travelling can impact your risk of getting COVID-19. Always be mindful of and minimize the "3 Cs":  

  • Confined and enclosed spaces with poor ventilation.
  • Crowded areas with many people nearby.
  • Close contact settings with close interactions with others. 

    When You Return Home

    • Stay at home as much as possible for 10 days following your return. Only go out for essential reasons, such as work, school, child care, medical appointments or to pick up groceries or prescriptions. Limit close interactions with others during this time.
    • Let your employer/workplace know that travel has take place and follow their direction regarding returning to work following travel.
    • Vigilantly monitor yourself for symptoms. If you develop any symptoms, even if mild, isolate immediately at home and get tested if you are eligible.
    • All returning international travellers must follow direction provided by the Government of Canada.
    • For individuals who have travelled by plane, cruise ships, buses or trains, visit the Government of Canada website for locations where you may have been exposed to COVID-19. Check periodically in the two weeks after your flight to determine if there were any potential exposures on your flight. Individuals who were on the flights and seated in the rows noted should monitor themselves carefully for symptoms. If symptoms develop, self-isolate immediately and arrange testing if you are eligible.


    Students/Others Returning Home

    For anyone who may be returning home to the Thunder Bay District, the following practices are strongly recommended to help prevent the spread of COVID-19:

    • Follow all rules and regulations outlined by the federal government if returning to the region from outside of Canada.
    • Become fully vaccinated against COVID-19, or receive your third or booster dose if you are eligible, before you leave. Those who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated should avoid non-essential travel to all destinations, both domestic and international.
    • Don’t travel if you, or someone you are traveling with, have any symptoms or feel sick. Isolate at home and get tested for COVID-19 if you are eligible.
    • Practice infection prevention and control during your travel and throughout your visit by wearing a mask, monitoring for symptoms, physically distancing and regularly performing hand hygiene.
    • Carefully monitor for symptoms for 10 days after arriving. If symptoms develop, self-isolate immediately and arrange testing if you are eligible. Others in the household must also self-isolate at this time.
    • Stay at home as much as possible for 10 days following your return. Only go out for essential reasons.
    • Limit interactions with others outside of the household, including limiting having visitors over. Choose outside activities rather than inside where possible.
    • Consider whether you, someone you live with, or anyone you plan to visit is at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, to determine whether to stay overnight in the same residence or to stay elsewhere.
    • If hosts and/or guests from multiple households are unvaccinated, partially vaccinated or vaccination status is unknown, they should practice physical distancing (two metres at all times), wear face coverings, not sleep in the same room and use separate washrooms if possible. Spend time together outdoors as much as possible for interpersonal interactions.
    • Consider and prepare for what you will do if you, or someone else, becomes ill during the visit, even with mild symptoms. Have a plan for self-isolation, health care and travel home.


    Who Should Not Travel

    Anyone included in the following list must be self-isolating and therefore should not travel. They should contact the TBDHU or the local public health agency where they are located and follow the instructions given, including accessing testing if eligible:

    • Individuals with symptoms.
    • Individuals with COVID-19.
    • Individuals exposed to someone with COVID-19 unless they are fully vaccinated.
    • Individuals awaiting test results due to symptoms. 


    COVID Alert App

    Download the COVID Alert App to be informed if you were exposed to COVID-19 during travel or regular day-to-day activities. The more people who use it, the more effective it will be in helping to protect each other and our communities.

    COVID-19 App
    Click the image to download the COVID Alert App


    Other Travel Information

    Last Updated: 10/01/2022