Coronavirus: Snowbirds fly south for winter amid pandemic – London


Despite the coronavirus pandemic and the closure of the Canada-U.S. Border, some Canadian snowbirds are still finding a way to fly south for the winter.
Although the border is closed to all non-commercial vehicles, thefts are still ongoing between countries.

Paul, whose last name Global News has agreed to hold back for fear of retaliation against his business, says his 91-year-old father is someone who will be making the trip south by helicopter.

“My dad has been going to Florida for 20 years and every year he goes down in mid-January and usually comes back in April.”

He tells Global News that his father has hired a service to drive his car across the border which will meet him at an airport on the other side, where he can then drive the rest of the way to Florida.

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Florida has recorded more than one million cases since the start of the pandemic, according to the New York Times, reporting 9,372 more as of Wednesday. Florida has also reported at least 19,377 deaths.

Paul has friends and family in the United States and said he doesn’t think they understood the severity of the pandemic.

“I think it’s a pretty big risk that I recommended him not to take, but he seems pretty determined,” he said.

“He doesn’t like to be cold, and he has his friends there, but I think the risks are pretty high.

Great Lakes Helicopter is a company transporting people from St. Catharines, Ontario, to the airport in Buffalo, New York, which transports their vehicles across the border and waits for them at the other side.

Great Lakes helicopter aerial view

Aerial view from helicopter of the Great Lakes.

Great Lakes helicopter

The cost will cost people $ 1,200 to cross the border by helicopter and an additional $ 700 to $ 1,200 to transport the vehicle depending on the size.

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Helicopter pilot Jeremy Rood told Global News that many of his customers felt they had no choice.

“We have had serious demand from people looking to use our services,” he said.

“Some of these people, when we offered the services, would call us to let us know they lived in a motel or outside of their RV in a parking lot.”

Many people who have chosen to divide their golden years between Canada and the United States may not have a winter option.

The return trip across the border should be a little different for snowbirds, with the process for Canadian citizens coming back much easier than it was for leaving.

What is happening now is the opposite of what was seen months ago when the border was first closed, as many Canadians in the United States struggled to return home.

The Government of Canada continues to advise Canadians to avoid non-essential travel outside the country amid COVID-19.

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© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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