OTTAWA — Canada's cruise ship ban will end in November, a few months ahead of schedule.
Cruise ships haven't been allowed in Canadian waters or ports for more than a year because of COVID-19 and the ban was set to remain in place until February 2022.
Transport Minister Omar Alghabra now says that with the pandemic improving and a rising vaccination rate, Canada will welcome ships back starting Nov. 1.
They will need to follow public health protocols, but those details are not yet available.
Cruise ships were early hot spots for COVID-19 last year, with hundreds of passengers falling ill and ships being stranded at sea as multiple countries began refusing them in ports.
Cruises generally play a major part in Canada's tourism industry, contributing $4 billion a year to the economy and employing 30,000 people directly and indirectly.
Cruises resumed in the United States last month for the first time since March 2020, with more set to sail from other states over the summer and this fall.
Some cruise lines are opting to require all passengers be vaccinated.
Those leaving Florida, one of the most popular places for voyages to begin, are not able to do so because of a state ban on businesses asking people to show proof of vaccination.
The first ship sailing by Celebrity Cruises last month allowed vaccinated passengers to ditch face masks while on board, while unvaccinated passengers were limited to specific state rooms and areas on the ship.
The cruise line said more than 95 per cent of passengers on board had been fully vaccinated.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 15, 2021.
Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press