There are two sets of rules for Canadian arrivals: one for air, and the other for land.
More air travellers to Canada are leveraging the discrepancy to skirt the country’s costly mandatory hotel quarantine by flying to U.S. cities close to the Canadian border – then hiring a ground transport service to drive them across.
That’s provided a windfall to U.S. transportation companies that say they are enjoying a huge boom in business catering to returning Canadian snowbirds after Canada introduced the hotel quarantine requirement on 22FEB, CBC News reports.
“This is a huge, huge shot in the arm for us, this Canadian snowbird travel. It’s a godsend,” said Carla Boccio, owner of Buffalo Limousine, one of the companies offering transportation services across the border.
“When Canada imposed that hotel [quarantine], then it was just like our phones were exploding.”
The three companies CBC spoke with said they’ll drive Canadians to or across the Canadian border for around US$100 and, for an added fee, can drive passengers directly to their homes in Ontario. Buffalo Limousine charges US$300 for a trip from Buffalo to downtown Toronto.
That’s just one-tenth of the estimated CAD$3,000 to quarantine for just three days in a government-approved hotel.
Buffalo Limousine has transported some 50 customers a day across the Canadian border since FEB, increasing its lagging business by around 50 per cent, Boccio told CBC.
From 22FEB, air passengers entering Canada are required to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival and spend up to three days of their 14-day quarantine in a hotel to await the test results. But travellers entering Canada by land face no hotel quarantine requirement and can spend their 14 days of isolation at their own home.
According to Canada Border Services Agency data, land entries into Canada jumped by 15 per cent during the first three weeks of MAR, compared to the same period in FEB, CBC reports. Those entries include both leisure travellers and essential workers who are not truck drivers.