To the editor,
We have been snowbirds for 21 years. Last year, when the Canada-U.S. border was closed, we found a loophole which permitted us to fly to Arizona instead of driving. We decided that we could stay at home just as well in our southern home as we could here and in sunshine. The added bonus was that by February, both of us were completely vaccinated.
Coming back to Canada in spring was an experience in itself. We had to have a negative COVID-19 test 72 hours before we boarded our flight. We had to book a three-day hotel stay by a government agency in Calgary and it cost $2,000. On arrival, we had to have another COVID test and were told the results would take two or three days. We were also given a home testing kit, to be used on the eighth day of our arrival.
Our results came negative the next day and we flew home early but there was no hotel refund. At this stage, we were exposed to the general public at airports and during flights. But when we got home, we still had to self isolate for another 12 days, which made no sense at all. Daily phone calls to a government agency to say we had no symptoms. A government agent came and knocked on our door to check up that we were compliant with our self-isolation. On the eighth day, we were on Zoom with a nurse from Halifax who watched us stick the wand up our noses and seal them in tubes. Purolator came and picked them up that very day. After a few days, our tests came out negative and we finished our two-week isolation.
Because we were fully vaccinated, this process was a bit of a nuisance for us.
We congratulate the government on coming up with such a strict protocol for the safety of Canadians. However, I feel that this kind of protocol should have been implemented more than a year ago when COVID first surfaced. I remember Dr. Tam saying that if anybody from the flights from China had any symptoms, they should be given a brochure.
I feel that you are shutting the barn door after the horses have bolted.
Gulzar Hallman, Nanaimo
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