A local pharmacist said there's still a large demand for COVID-19 tests for international travellers, despite the federal government encouraging people to only leave the country for essential purposes.

Pascal Niccoli, a pharmacist at Shoppers Drug Mart in Waterloo, said many people are still boarding International flights.

"If people are going to choose to travel, we want to make sure they are doing that safely and access to testing is critical," Niccoli said.

Ontario stopped providing free tests for International travellers last month. Niccoli said he's now getting more than 50 calls a week from people who want to get a test before they go abroad.

"Since then we've looked for ways that we could start providing travel testing to people, because there clearly was a demand for it," Niccoli said.

He said he encourages Canadians to follow the government's travelling guidelines. Some people are travelling for recreational purposes, but most are going for work or compassionate reasons.

"Regardless of the reason why people are choosing to travel, as we do in many parts of our profession, it's important we provide guidance but ultimately stay non-judgemental," he said.

Aamr Soliman is going to Egypt to see his mother, who's in a coma with a blood clot.

"I'm here and she is there alone," Soliman said. "It's killing me."

He said he's only travelling due to the family emergency. Otherwise, he said he wouldn't be leaving the country.

"If you don't have an important reason to travel, don't travel," Soliman said.

However, many people are still flying for non-essential reasons, including politicians.

"It just makes you angry that people continue to disregard the rules and the rest of us have to spend longer and longer in lockdown because they keep spreading it," said Marion Joppe, a tourism professor a the University of Guelph.

The federal government said its up to individuals to decide whether or not their travel is essential.