Monday, March 1

Snowbirds are in no rush to come home

(Ottawa) The hustle and bustle surrounding the new travel restrictions does not appear to affect snowbirds who wait for the arrival of spring before flying to their nest in Quebec or Canada.

Catherine levesque
The Canadian Press

Many of them will wait several more weeks or a possible easing of restrictions before starting their return journey by plane, car or both, according to Denise Dumont, editor of the French-language newspaper. Florida Sun.

“It is not a pilgrimage to return to Canada”, summarizes the one that documents the daily life of these seasonal travelers.

Travelers entering Canada are now all required to present a negative screening test carried out 72 hours before arriving in the country, take a second test upon arrival in Canada, and then a third 10 days after the start of their quarantine period.

Already, media have reported that snowbirds used stratagems to avoid returning to the country by plane and thus bypass the compulsory stay at a hotel. Companies offer flights to a town near the Canada-US border and delivery of a vehicle to cross customs.

The fact remains that, even for those who will want to follow federal rules and health instructions to the letter, a logistical headache awaits them. The test carried out within 72 hours leaves little room for maneuver for those who will have to drive twenty hours to reach their destination.

“We have no choice, we will do it in one go. We will stop as little as possible, ”confided in an interview Anne Dupéré who, with her spouse, will make the return journey by car at the end of March.

“Usually we do it in two days. But there, no, this time it’s in one shot. We’re only going to stop to get gas and go to the bathroom. If we’re really tired, we’ll stop in a […] parking and going to bed for a couple of hours, ”she explains.

The two retirees say they will have their test results on their phones on the way.

The way back could also be strewn with pitfalls if the curfew in Quebec is still in effect.

“If I get to customs at 7:30 or 8:00 p.m., what do I do?” […] Do I keep going and get pulled over by the police on the road? Or do I stop at a hotel and get pulled over because I’m not supposed to stop anywhere? Asks Michèle Tassé, who also plans to return in March.

Mme Dumont regrets that the federal rules were rushed, without taking into account the reality of Canadians living in Florida.

“These restrictive measures were made, ultimately, for those who went to spring break, those who simply went on vacation for two weeks during the month of March. That was the real cause of it all, it was to discourage people from leaving Canada, ”she describes.

The snowbirds many have been vaccinated. What’s more, some are older and can’t afford to drive such long distances, she argues.

” The snowbirds are here at home. It costs them nothing more to live here, it is their property. So they will stay until time permits, hoping that by then the restrictive measures will be relaxed and that they will not be forced to spend three days in the hotel, ”she concludes. .

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