Benedict Huszar / Staff Reporter
Travellers arriving at Pearson International Airport are leaving without completing the “mandatory” two-week quarantine because they don’t want to pay the airport hotel fees for their stay.
People who dodge the mandatory hotel stay will be tracked down and fined up to $1,800 per missed day by PHAC (Public Health Agency of Canada). A spokesperson for the PHAC said that the highest possible penalty for somebody who disobeys could be up to a $750,000 fine and/or 6 months imprisonment.
The Peel Regional Police force do have the power to arrest and charge disobeying travellers but due to lack of resources police have been relying on PHAC to follow up with travellers who have already left the airport. A source within the issue stated “[to] stop all these people, issue them fines, do the follow ups, make sure they’re complying”.
The National Quarantine Act states that anyone arriving in Canada from abroad must test negative for Covid-19 before they leave. This is followed by a three day self-isolation in a government authorised hotel, which can cost up to $2,000 a day. The traveller finishes the rest of their 14-day quarantine at home.
People who have travelled or are planning to have been questioning whether it is even worth it with the high cost of the hotel stay on top of the plane ticket. “For a family, you could pay three or four thousand. For three days you’re paying $4,000 for your family to quarantine.” said Michelle Fernandes, who travelled back from India and still paid $1,100 for herself.
Police are currently working on a solution to help enforce and track down people who disobey quarantine rules.