COVID-19: Travel

TBDHU strongly recommends All residents avoid non-essential travel outside of Northwestern Ontario.

if residents must travel, it is strongly recommended to stay home for 14 days after returning, especially when returning from another high risk area.

As part of the Stay-at-Home Order, the Ontario Government is advising not to travel outside your region or the province unless absolutely necessary.

Travel into Ontario from the provinces of Manitoba and Quebec is also restricted, with limited exceptions, such as work, health care services, transportation and delivery of goods and services or exercising Aboriginal or treaty rights. Read the full list of reasons you may travel into Ontario from Manitoba or Quebec.


Travel Guidance

TBDHU strongly recommends avoiding all non-essential travel outside of Northwestern Ontario.

Due to the rapidly changing and high case numbers, as well as the increasing presence of variants of concern in many jurisdictions, travel outside of Northwestern Ontario is not advisable and must be for essential reasons only. Similarly, hosting visitors from other areas is also not advisable and must be limited to essential reasons. 

It is recommended to cancel or postpone any current plans for non-essential travel and consider other options, including connecting or participating virtually.   

Essential Travel

If you must travel for urgent or essential reasons (*see below), you are not required to self-isolate BUT it is strongly recommended to:

  • Stay home for 14 days after returning, especially if traveling from another high risk area.  
  • Do not interact with others outside your household. This includes not having visitors in your home. 
  • Consult with your employer and your child’s school/child care centre, (if applicable), about guidelines or policies about returning after travel.
  • Carefully monitor yourself for symptoms for these 14 days.  
  • If you, the traveler, develop any symptoms, immediately self-isolate and call the nearest Assessment Centre to arrange testing. Continue to self-isolate while waiting for the test and the test results. At this time, your household members also need to self-isolate (see below for more details).

For individuals who are essential workers, including those who travel as part of their work: 

  • Work with your employer and follow their policies on returning to work after traveling, as well as policies they have for staying safe when traveling for work. 
  • When not at work, please follow the stay at home directions above. 

*Urgent or essential reasons for travel include: accessing needed medical services outside the region, urgent family issues, essential workers such as HCP, first responders, infrastructure worker, etc. who may come from elsewhere, etc. and those who need to travel as part of their work. 

Instructions for Household Members

If the traveler does not have symptoms, household members must stay home except for essential reasons, for 14 days after the person returns home. Essential reasons could include going to work, school or child care and essential errands such as groceries, attending medical appointments or picking up prescriptions. It is important to:

  • Stay home as much as possible.
  • Limit contact with others.
  • Work from home, if possible.
  • Consider using online grocery ordering services, food delivery, or having someone drop off groceries and other essential items to your home.
  • Do not visit others and do not have visitors in your home.
  • Keep a minimum 2 metre distance from anyone outside your household.
  • Continue to follow all infection prevention measures.

If anyone in the household develops symptoms, the whole household must self-isolate and the symptomatic individual should get tested.  

If the traveler has symptoms, household members, including those who did not travel, must also self-isolate for 14 days, even if they don’t have symptoms. The start date of these 14 days is the date the traveler developed symptoms.

  • If these close contacts develop symptoms, they should call the nearest Assessment Centre to arrange testing and remain in self-isolation for 10 days from when their symptoms started while waiting for the test and the test results. 

Students and Snowbirds Returning Home

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

  • Limit interactions, especially close contact, with others 10-14 days prior to arrival. The 10-14 day period is recommended by Ministry guidelines with 14 days being ideal. However, it is recognized that limiting all interactions for a full two weeks prior to travel may not be possible, especially for students. As such, a minimum of 10 days is strongly recommended.
  • Stay home and only leave home for essential reasons for 14 days following arrival.
  • Carefully monitor for symptoms for 14 days after arriving home. If symptoms develop, self-isolate immediately and arrange testing. Others in the household must also self-isolate at this time.
  • Do not interact with others outside of the household. This includes not having visitors over.
  • Avoid any contact with others who might be considered high-risk.
  • Practice infection prevention and control by wearing a mask, monitoring for symptoms, and regularly performing hand hygiene, even if already vaccinated.

Please note that for anyone returning to the region from outside of Canada, they are required by the Quarantine Act to complete a 14 day self-isolation period - full details of the requirements can be found below in the "What do I need to know about travel outside of Canada?" tab.


High Risk Areas

Note that risk associated with each area can change quickly.


For anyone who is traveling:

  • Download the COVID Alert App as an extra layer of protection while you are away.
  • Do a self-assessment and do not travel if you have any symptoms, even if mild.
  • Avoid close contact with anyone outside of your household while away. 
  • It is strongly recommended that you not attend social gatherings while away. 
  • Take all of the necessary precautions to avoid exposure during travel (i.e. wear a mask, maintain physical distance, wash/sanitize hands frequently, etc.).
  • Have a plan in case you develop COVID-19 symptoms while away and need to self-isolate and seek testing immediately.
  • The activities you do while travelling can impact your risk of getting COVID-19. If possible, avoid:
    • public transportation (like airplanes, buses, and subways).
    • crowded areas where physical distancing is challenging.
    • noisy events or places where people are speaking loudly, as this causes people to spit when talking.
    • communities with high rates of COVID-19.
  • For individuals who have travelled by plane, 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.

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


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 health unit where they are located and follow the instructions given, including accessing testing:

  • Individuals with symptoms.
  • Individuals with COVID-19.
  • Individuals exposed to someone with COVID-19.
  • Individuals awaiting test results due to symptoms. 
TBDHU continues to monitor the situation across the province and beyond. Recommendations will be updated as needed to reflect the changing situation.


Other Travel Information

Last Updated: 20/04/2021