Canadian travellers skip hotel quarantine by crossing land border by taxi, but will the loophole last?

When Canada introduced mandatory hotel stays for arriving air passengers in February,  but not for land travellers, it quickly became obvious that people would exploit that loophole.

And that’s exactly what’s happening as media reports indicate that the taxi business has been booming at the United States-Canada border for the past several weeks. Much of it is fueled by returning snowbirds, but it’s also being exploited by other international travellers as well.

“They call from six in the morning to 12 at night,” John Arnet, general manager of 716 Limousine in Buffalo, N.Y. told Reuters. “We’ve had so many requests for border crossings that we’re turning them down.”

Even though the Canada-U.S. border has been closed to non-essential traffic for 14 months, returning Canadians have the right enter the country, but are required to isolate at home for 14 days when they do so.

With COVID numbers continuing to surge across Canada, it’s unknown whether the border taxi business will continue to boom as premiers are agitating to close the loophole.

In a joint letter to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last week the premiers of Ontario and Quebec said that Canada should “roll out further protective actions at the Canada-U.S. land border,” which could potentially mean tougher quarantine measures for non-essential travellers.

New Brunswick has already enacted a seven-day hotel quarantine for any non-essential travellers entering the province, whether it be by land, air or sea.

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