Americans travel to Canada for work, for pleasure, and as a way to get to Alaska. But these days, Americans aren’t welcome. Canada shut its border with the U.S. months ago, fearing that Americans would bring the dreaded COVID-19 virus with them. But a closed border doesn’t mean that people don’t travel between the countries, it just means fewer people. Unfortunately, some that that cross still bring the virus, and refuse to self-quarantine or follow other rules.
Prince Edward Island announced a cluster of new cases linked to a foreign student who entered Canada from the United States. The man didn’t self-isolate as required, infected at least one person, and then that person infected four more.
The problem is that Canadian authorities must deal with both unwanted tourists slipping though the border and legitimate travelers who break the strict quarantine laws. As Canada reopens a bit more, there is more approved travel, which compounds the potential for infection.
More than 187,000 truck drivers and individuals entered last week from the U.S., a 30% increase over the end of May.
The law demands that everyone but essential workers and truckers self-isolate for 14 days, but who has the time, or can stand the boredom?
A Florida couple were fined in rural Ontario this week for breaking the quarantine law, while a Minnesota couple were fined last week, also in Ontario. Police have also fined numerous U.S. citizens for stopping to hike in picturesque Banff National Park while en route to Alaska.
Canadians overwhelmingly support the border restrictions, with 81% saying they want the border to stay closed.
Chances are that most of those wanting to keep the borders shut don’t work in tourist towns like Banff, where unemployment sits at a whopping 80%. In Whistler, hotel occupancy has dropped to near zero.
It’s likely that Americans will travel to Canada when the restrictions end, but for the moment, we’re just not getting any love from our Northern neighbors.