Some Manitobans cancelling or delaying travel amid Omicron concerns

WINNIPEG –

If the Omicron variant is putting a damper on your holiday gathering and travel plans, you’re not alone.

While the province has yet to introduce additional public health measures specifically aimed at dealing with Omicron, some people are deciding for themselves to scale back.

“We have seen some cancellations, in the near term—people are really mindful,” said Susan Postma, regional manager with CAA Manitoba. “We want people to travel safely.”

Postma said there’s still demand for domestic flights.

She said if you do decide to travel internationally it’s important to know travel restrictions in the country you’re visiting, and the requirements to get back into Canada.

“If you’re coming back into Canada from other countries—you would have to be available to provide that negative PCR testing,” Postma said.

Canada’s chief public health officer stopped short Monday of advising Canadians to cancel their travel plans.

“I would advocate for a more precautionary approach right now,” Dr. Theresa Tam told reporters.

Tam said people should do an individual risk assessment, adding provinces may soon come up with their own measures based on how the variant is spreading.

Darren Pennell and his wife recently travelled to Mexico where they celebrated her 50th birthday—a trip the Brandon couple has had booked since March.

“I would tell people right now if they’re going to be travelling in the next little while to pack your patience and be very prepared for some delays but most of all check your documentation and make sure you’ve got everything filled out,” Pennell said.

Pennell said the vacation went well right up until they got a call from public health six days after returning home earlier this month about their connecting flight from Calgary to Winnipeg.

“She did confirm that we were exposed to the first potential Omicron case in Manitoba on that flight,” Pennell said.

Pennell said he and his wife were ordered to get tested and quarantine for 14 days, even though they had already returned to normal activities after getting home.

“We weren’t overly concerned, we were just doing what we were asked to do by the government and protecting everyone else,” he said.

Pennell said they’ve since tested negative and that their quarantine ended Friday.

“All in all our trip was fantastic, we had great weather the whole time we were down there,” he said. “Would I do it again, absolutely. Just be prepared for some inconveniences along the way.”

Manitoba is no longer publicly reporting or posting details of flights, trains or buses where there may have been COVID-19 exposures.

The province said this is based on the preventative measures in place for travel which require people over 12 to be fully vaccinated to travel on a plane, train or cruise ship within Canada and to enter Canada from international travel.

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