Stricter rules are on the way for Americans entering Canada who say they are headed to Alaska, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
As of Friday, the Canada Border Services Agency will require additional entry conditions and only allow such travellers to enter at one of five crossings: Abbotsford-Huntingdon (British Columbia), Kingsgate (British Columbia), Osoyoos (British Columbia), Coutts (Alberta), and North Portal (Saskatchewan).
Drivers will be allowed a reasonable period of stay to make the transit and will be limited to travel within Canada using the most direct route from the point of entry to the intended point of exit in Alaska.
They will be barred from driving through national parks, leisure sites and tourism locations, the agency said Thursday.
Drivers will need to inform the closest CBSA official before leaving Canada for re-entry into the United States in Alaska.
“These measures are put in place to further reduce the risk of introduction of COVID-19 cases and to minimize the amount of time that in-transit travellers are in Canada,” the agency said.
Premier John Horgan has frequently raised concerns about Americans stopping in B.C. on their way to Alaska and not obeying the mandatory 14-day quarantine required when entering the country.
In-transit travellers will be issued a “hang tag” for their rearview mirror for the duration of their trip to or from Alaska.
The front of the tag will make it clear that the travellers are transiting and include the date they must depart Canada.
The back of the tag will remind travellers to comply with all conditions imposed upon entry and a list of public health and safety measures to follow.
The travellers will also be reminded to follow strict protocols including avoiding contact with others while in transit, remaining in the vehicle as much as possible, and to not make any unnecessary stops.
Drivers are also required to practice physical distancing at all times, pay at the pump if they need gas, use a drive-through if they need food, wear a mask and ensure good hygiene practices if they need to use a rest area.
“In-transit travellers are encouraged to use only those services that are open to travellers along the direct route on which they are travelling,” the release reads.
Drivers showing up at a crossing other than the five listed will be denied entry.
“No matter the reason for travel, all foreign nationals who have COVID-19 or exhibit any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed to enter Canada.”
Failure to comply is an offence under the Quarantine Act and could lead to up to $750,000 in fines and/or imprisonment of up to six months.
If a traveller causes a risk of imminent death or serious bodily harm to another person while willfully or recklessly contravening the regulations, they could be liable for up to $1,000,000 in fines and/or imprisonment of up to three years.
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