Under the Quarantine Act, visitors to Canada must self-isolate for two weeks upon arrival in the country. Failure to comply with the restrictions is punishable by a fine of up to $ 750,000 in fines and / or six months imprisonment.
But neither Uihlein nor his two traveling companions were required to self-quarantine.
Canada’s federal government has the power to grant exemptions to workers deemed essential to the country, but that list typically includes long-haul flight crews and truck drivers, not corporate executives.
Only four ministers can grant exemptions: foreign affairs, public safety, health and immigration. The country’s senior public health official, Dr Theresa Tam, can also issue exemptions.
No ministry has said whether it grants the exemption and the company has not responded to a request for comment from the Guardian.
The news of the exemption provoked outrage from a federal party leader.
“While Mr. Trudeau asked Canadians to follow public health advice, behind closed doors, he granted exemptions to billionaires,” tweeted Jagmeet Singh, leader of the left-wing NDP party.
“We know he thinks there’s one set of rules for him and his rich friends, and another for the rest of us – but that’s another thing.
Canada’s common border with the United States has remained closed to non-essential travel since March, in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Uihlein and her husband have been called the “powerful conservative couple you’ve never heard of” for their large donations to the Republican Party. In recent years, they have donated $ 100 million to conservative causes and politicians, including Senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and failed Senate candidate Roy Moore.
Uihlein has also been a vocal criticism of foreclosure measures in her home state of Wisconsin, which she says places an undue burden on businesses.“It’s overrated,” she told The Guardian in April. “And I don’t wish any ill will on anyone. You know I don’t want this, but I think it hurts in certain ages in certain places and largely in many parts of the world. In the country, it’s not as widespread as the press would like you to be.
As of Thursday, nearly 200,000 Americans are believed to have died from the virus, with 2.5 million active infections.
While Uihlein’s visit to Canada lasted less than two days, police were called at one point after employees were concerned that executives were holding large meetings without a mask, according to CBC News.
“It doesn’t matter who you are. I don’t care if you have fifty cents or ten billion dollars, ”Ontario Premier Doug Ford said of Uihlein’s visit. “It doesn’t make any difference: the rules are the rules.”