The Canadian government introduced new measures for returning travelers to undergo during the COVID-19 period, which has caused a stir among snowbirds.
Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau recently announced the introduction of new rules guiding the return of travelers to the country.
The measures, expected to come into play from February 22 would require travelers to take a mandatory COVID-19 test at the airport upon their arrival. All tests would be at the recipient’s expense.
Additionally, these returnees would also spend the first three days of their arrival in mapped-out hotels close to any of the four approved International airports, also at their expense. During their quarantining period, they would be under strict supervision while awaiting their test results.
Lodging at the government-authorized hotel costs an estimated $2,000 depending on the facility and requires booking in advance starting February 18. Canada’s Health Minister, Patty Hajdu confirmed that this price caters for hotel fees, food, and travel expenses.
Travelers with negative results would then board a connecting flight to their final destinations, and complete their 2-weeks quarantining period at home. However, people with positive results would receive transportation to government-designated facilities.
Trudeau also established guidelines for returnees via land borders, expected to take effect from February 15. These travelers would have to show copies of their COVID-19 test results, taken at least 72 hours before their arrival.
Also, beginning February 22, such returnees would undergo mandatory COVID-19 molecular tests on arrival, and after their 14-day quarantine.
Notably, these rules guiding road travel exempt essential workers like truck drivers, accounting for 93% of those crossing land borders.
Taking effect immediately, all travelers, either by air or land, would turn in some mandatory requirements. These include contact information, travel plans, and details on a favorable quarantine plan. Returnees can submit these requirements on the ArriveCAN app.
Trudeau stressed the importance of these COVID-19 measures. He insisted they were not an avenue to punish people, but to keep them safe. Hence, the resolve to discourage non-essential travels.
Despite the good intentions, many disagreed with the Prime Minister, especially snowbirds, who seem most affected by these developments. Since the announcement days ago, snowbirds have been flocking into the country in their numbers, cutting short their vacation to avoid the extra costs.
Dr. Morley Rubinoff, 71, who travels to Mexico yearly to beat the winter for health reasons expressed his grievances. He noted that he had to abort his stay in Mexico six weeks early to avoid the “hotel hell.”
Many others, who migrated out of Canada on extended stays earlier, for reasons ranging from health to vaccine-haunting, but are forced to return before February 22, have also voiced their displeasure.
Notwithstanding, the government seems firm in its resolve, insisting the measures were necessary to prevent a third wave of the coronavirus pandemic.