Since their marriage in July 2020, Katrina Gurr and Alexis Gurr have visited each other as often as possible, which has not been easy during the pandemic.
Katrina lives in Port Moody and Alexis lives near Mount Vernon, Wash.
” August. 9 in Canada was when I could start coming regularly, ”Alexis said of the day the land border reopened so the Americans could get to Canada.
“But that’s when we ran into the testing issues. “
Private labs in the United States charge up to $ 250 for a PCR test, which is needed for Alexis to travel to Canada and for Katrina to return home, by land and air. But the couple found a way to get the required test for free.
“We basically go to Walgreens three days before we have to go back,” Katrina said. “I never had to pay. I have probably done it 4 times.
His wife Alexis too.
Canadians can book a free drive-thru PCR test at most Walgreens online stores, using the address where they stayed in the
United States No proof of residency is required.
“Not enough people know about this,” said Andrew D’Amours, creator of the Flytrippers travel blog.
“I have been using it since April. It has been working for a long time. It’s really easy.
But test results are not guaranteed within 72 hours, which is necessary to enter or re-enter Canada.
“I think the closest I’ve come to is 68 hours,” Alexis said. “Walgreens, I feel like I’m playing COVID test roulette because you never know if you’ll get your test back on time. “
Some Walgreens stores offer a much faster, free, and quick diagnostic test called “ID Now,” which is also accepted for entering Canada and provides results in just a few hours.
“I did it on a Saturday and literally an hour after my appointment I had the results in my email so it’s much better,” said D’Amours.
Free ID Now tests are offered in some popular vacation destinations, such as Las Vegas, Hawaii, and Florida.
There are several near Seattle, but it’s still a two-hour drive from where Alexis lives. So when Katrina visits his wife next week, she’ll roll the dice on the free PCR test at nearby Walgreens and hope the results come back in time for her scheduled return to British Columbia.
“It’s honestly very stressful,” Katrina said.
But the free testing at Walgreens saved them a lot of money. So the couple’s advice for fellow British Columbians hoping to test for free while in the United States?
“If you’re ready to take some of the stress – you might be getting your results, but have a back-up plan for getting home – then I would say go for it,” Katrina said. “Otherwise, I would just shell out the money. ”