New pandemic restrictions will soon force non-essential travellers arriving in Canada to quarantine in a hotel – this time on their own dime.
The federal government estimates non-essential travel since the pandemic took hold in March 2020 makes up two per cent of COVID-19 infections, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said during an announcement of sweeping measures on Friday (Jan. 29).
Since the outset of the pandemic, the government funded designated quarantine sites for Canadians to safely self-isolate for 14 days, as required under the Quarantine Act. Currently, no other non-essential travellers are allowed in the country.
However, as of Sunday (Jan. 31), the costs now land completely on the traveller.
Canadians who arrive back in the country will need to pay for a private COVID-19 test upon landing at one of four designated airports then wait for the results at a government-approved hotel.
Roughly 8.6-million people have entered Canada since March 2020, according to the Canada Border Services Agency. This included through land and air borders, involving non-essential travellers and those entering the U.S. for work-related matters, such as truck drivers.
So how among those were Canadians who partook in recreational travel without adequate quarantine plans?
According to data obtained by Black Press Media from the federal public health agency, there have been 5,030 travellers put up in hotels and government facilities upon arriving back in the country, from March 2020 to January, at taxpayers’ expense.
Of those travellers, 717 have been provided a place to quarantine in B.C.
Though the locations of the designated quarantine are kept under wraps, the government said it operates 11 sites in a total of nine cities across the country.
The largest province, Ontario, has seen the most hotel quarantine stays, at 3,111. Both Newfoundland and the Yukon provided three travellers each with accommodations.
– with files from Ashley Wadhwani
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