Make snowbirds quarantine in city where they land, suggests P.E.I. senator

·2 min read

Prince Edward Island Sen. Diane Griffin is asking the federal government to consider mandatory quarantine at points of entry for Canadian snowbirds returning to Canada in the spring.

Griffin, one of four senators from P.E.I., says she knows of several people who are travelling south for the winter months.

"We've been pretty successful with keeping healthy within the Atlantic bubble, but if people are coming back from south in the spring, then there's quite a risk to the Atlantic bubble," Griffin said.

She said she's happy with the way the bubble has worked out and she'd like to see it safety maintained.

Tuesday via Zoom, Griffin asked the government representative in the Senate, Marc Gold, if the government would consider forcing returning international travellers to self-isolate in the Canadian city where they land, rather than returning to their homes to quarantine.

She said if snowbirds have to pay for a hotel room near the airport where they land, the traveller should pay for at least a portion if not all of it.

"Prince Edward Island's not a point of entry [but] people could be coming into Toronto from elsewhere and then taking a flight to the Island, or to Halifax," she said.

"There is a lot of risk for community infection as a result of returning snowbirds."

They're doing it down under

Griffin said Australia has enacted quarantine at points of entry and she believes it's a good solution. She said Ottawa has the power to enact a similar rule.

The Australian government's rules state, "You must quarantine in the city you arrive in for 14 days, even if you plan to travel elsewhere in Australia."

"There's no reason why we should not consider doing that in our country," she said, adding that the Australian government does not allow citizens to leave the country unless it's for a very good reason.

Australia has enacted severe lockdowns, including curfews in several areas.

The Canadian government is asking travellers to stay home during the pandemic, but is not requiring it, so some are planning to travel.

To back up her point, Griffin said she would also like the government to provide the senate with data about international-travel-related COVID-19 cases in Atlantic Canada.

Gold responded that he would look into the matter. Griffin said she expects a response to her question within a couple of weeks.

She said with the current spike in coronavirus cases in the rest of Canada, she believes "something will have to be done" and that the government will consider her suggestion.

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