When Natalia Pinzón boarded the flight for her trip to Toronto in March to begin a freshman college program in the city, she was fully aware of Canada’s new quarantine rules that require inbound international travelers to spend up to three. days at a designated airport. hotel while awaiting coronavirus test results.
What the 19-year-old Colombian said she didn’t realize before arriving at the hotel was that she would be charged more than four times the price she was told in writing before getting up to board the plane.
“I expected to pay $ 80 a night, but the quarantine package costs $ 360 a night,” Pinzón told Global News in an interview.
She said she and a family member were upfront when booking, explaining that she was from out of the country and would have to pay the price applicable to inbound travelers under the new rules.
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But when the take-it-or-leave-it price offer was offered by the airport hotel when it checked in after traveling 20 hours from South America, Pinzón said she didn’t no choice but to accept it.
“I’m going crazy and stressed out right now,” Pinzón said, reflecting on his experience.
This is similar to what other travelers have reported since the new quarantine policy took effect.
“I didn’t think the price was justified, it was actually excessive,” said Suvit Yeung, a Canadian living and working in Europe until he flew to Toronto in March for compassionate reasons. .
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“It was necessary for me to provide care and support to a member of my family facing serious illness.”
Yeung spoke to Global News while doing a mandatory 14-day quarantine at a family home in the Toronto area.
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He said he was also charged several times more for the hotel stay than what the Montreal hotel originally quoted him.
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The higher daily rate at government approved hotels is intended to cover accommodation, meals, additional security, transportation, and additional cleaning.
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However, Yeung said that except for the food, he did not receive any other special benefits or services.
“There was no deep cleaning, there was not even hand sanitizer at the hotel where I was staying,” he said, adding that the hotel had no extra security and that he had to pay for his own taxi to get to the hotel from the airport terminal.
Yeung and Pinzón both tested negative for COVID-19 around 12 hours after arriving. Once they received the permissions by email, they were no longer required by law to stay in their hotels.
However, under the rules, they were still forced to pay for three nights’ accommodation: hotels do not provide refunds.
“Why do I have to pay three days when I’m negative?” It doesn’t make sense, ”Pinzón said.
Since she was obligated to pay anyway, she said she spent three nights at the hotel, as did Yeung, who previously arranged a connecting flight to Toronto based on a three-night stay.
The requirement for quarantine in hotels was seen as long overdue by many Canadians who considered inbound travel too easy and too risky in the event of a pandemic.
Now, travelers entering Canada must test negative for COVID-19 before boarding a flight to Canada, then test negative before leaving airport quarantine, and finally test negative again before exiting. in public at the end of a 14-day quarantine. .
“I think it’s important for people to understand that no one wants to travel unnecessarily during a pandemic,” Yeung said.
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Canada’s quarantine rules may be misunderstood by American travelers who watch Fox News based on recent comments from prime-time host Tucker Carlson.
“Canada has taken a dramatic step towards legitimately dangerous authoritarianism,” Carlson intoned, warning the Fox News audience.
He went on to describe the mandatory hotel requirement, designed to limit the spread of the coronavirus, as a form of internment.
“We assume that doing internships is what Russia does, annoying people is what Canada does. Suddenly Canada is a blatant violator of the most basic human rights, ”Carlson concluded after falsely claiming that travelers would be placed in government facilities and not in hotels.
While many travelers said they overpaid their stay, received substandard food and less than ideal service, no one said their hotels felt like a prison.
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