Nain man stuck 400 km from home, frustrated by changing travel rules

Submitted by Noah Noggasak

A Nain man is stuck self-isolating hundreds of kilometres from his home after quickly changing travel restrictions prevented him from boarding a flight for the last leg of his trip. 

Noah Noggasak is stranded in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, about 400 kilometres away from his hometown, after returning from a trip to Maine and Quebec for kayak-building workshops. He left the U.S. March 6 and was in Montreal until Saturday.

He was due to fly to Nain on Sunday, but flights were stormbound. The next day, the provincial government started requiring people who had travelled outside the province to self-isolate for two weeks after returning, but when Noggasak — who said he has shown no symptoms and thought he was safe to travel back home — went to get on his Air Borealis flight home, he was still  surprised to be prevented from boarding.

He says travellers aren't getting timely information on quickly shifting restrictions.

"I would have been the only passenger on the plane, except for the pilots. It's poor communication all the way through," Noggasak told CBC in an interview that aired on Labrador Morning on Thursday.

He now has to self-isolate in a hotel room in Happy Valley-Goose Bay for two weeks before he can head back to Nain. Noggasak says he understands Air Borealis's decision but is still frustrated.

"It was because I was out of the province for two weeks," he said, "I understand their intention — we wanna limit COVID-19, of course — but I'm not sure if I would take a ticket if they gave me a ticket right now."

He was planning to self-isolate once he got home; now he can only pace back and forth in his small hotel room.

Rebecca Martel/CBC

"My girlfriend, she had my tent, sleeping bag, stove, all those things," he said. "I was actually going to sleep in the yard and go wooding, go fishing — you know, do useful things. [Now] my usefulness is sorta limited to nothing, really — just being in a hotel room."

If he can't get on a flight after his self-isolation ends, Noggasak has a plan to get back home.

"I'll drive up by Ski-Doo. It's a two-, three-day drive. [I'll] bring enough gas to avoid all the towns so I won't come in contact with anybody."

Air Borealis has not responded to a request for comment from CBC.

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