canadians-crossing-border-in-taxis-to-avoid-hotel-quarantine-for-air-travelers

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Canada has had tough restrictions in place for months, with borders closed to most nonessential travel, although Canadians can travel in and out.However, under a rule that continues through the end of May, anyone coming into Canada by air must quarantine for 14 days, starting with a required three-day quarantine period in a hotel—and that can get pricey.Reuters reports that Canadians, especially those who live in U.S.-adjacent Ontario, are getting around that rule by riding across the border in a taxi or limo after flying to a nearby U.S. city.You’ve heard about the American who got fined big (Canadian) bucks for stopping to do some tourism while driving up to Alaska—strictly forbidden during the pandemic. That’s proof that Canada is not messing around about controlling the spread of COVID-19. Another thing the government requires is that anybody coming into the country by plane must quarantine for 14 days. The first three days of that quarantine have to be in a government-approved hotel while they await COVID-19 test results, and that gets expensive. So thrifty Canadians are calling cab and limo services to roll them across the border, after flying to border areas on their way home from business or vacation stays in the U.S.

Reuters reported today that taking a taxi into Canada from the U.S. border can cost in the area of $250 or less, versus close to $1000 to stay in a government-approved hotel for three days. The news service quoted John Arnet, general manager of 716 Limousine in Buffalo, New York, as saying it now does more business in getting Canadians into Ontario than it does with U.S. customers. “They call from six in the morning to 12 at night,” Arnet said.

It’s not just New York’s border; a taxi company in Grand Forks, North Dakota, is also doing record business, charging about $200 to get passengers into Canada. Taxi company owner Mike Swehla told the Grand Forks Herald he makes the round trip so often that some border officials greet him with, “Hey, how are you doing today, Mike?”

Drivers told Reuters that many passengers just get dropped off at the border, walk across, and call a different cab company or get some other kind of ride once they’re in Canada. Others want to be driven home.

Yes, people who come in by motor vehicle or on foot still have to quarantine. They just get to quarantine at home, not in a hotel. If you fly in, Canada’s regulations say, “Go directly from the airport to your pre-booked government-authorized accommodation (hotel) . . . remain in your hotel room until you receive your arrival test result.” Those who drive in can just get home, settle in, and wait for the required COVID-19 test results from there.

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