Changes to N.B.'s hotel quarantine rules have some travellers confused
MONCTON, N.B. -- It’s been a confusing few days for some travellers entering New Brunswick.
The province has introduced an option for exemption from hotel isolation, but says those exemptions will be granted on a ‘case-by-case’ basis.
Kelly Laing and her partner were on their way home from travelling to Ontario for her grandmother’s funeral, when they found out at the 11th hour that they could isolate at home.
“Saturday, on our return, we were just passing through Kingston, Ontario, and luckily enough a friend of mine sent me a press release that said that if you could stay at home, and had the means to stay at home, contact the travel registration. They may approve you to stay in your own residence,” recalls Laing.
Laing and her partner were granted an exemption at the border and permitted to quarantine at home.
Initially, all non-essential travellers had to self-isolate at a pre-approved hotel for at least seven days. The stay cost about $1,300, and is managed by the Canadian Red Cross.
On Saturday, New Brunswick public health announced changes to self-isolation rules, allowing exemptions on a case-by-case basis that allow some travellers to self-isolate at a ‘stand-alone residence’.
Meanwhile in Alberta, a moving truck is ready to roll, but the Billo family are still not sure where they’ll be laying their heads immediately after their move to N.B.
“We had a really good plan, and then the rules changed, and then they changed again, so now we’re not sure what’s going to happen,” say Angela and Paul Billo. “We’ve applied for an exemption. We have an empty house and a solid plan to quarantine. We have people there that are going to stock our fridge ahead of our arrival, receive our furniture. But now we’re told we have to stay in a hotel, with our dog and cat.”
With two pets potentially cooped up in a hotel room, the Billo’s say they can’t imagine what it would be like for families with three or four young children.
Exemption changes are also making work difficult for the Red Cross, who are receiving calls from a lot of confused travellers.
“Since the original revision to the mandatory order a few days ago, that increase the volume without question,” says Bill Lawlor of the Canadian Red Cross. “I don’t want to give the impression it hasn’t been challenging, without some speed bumps. Certainly many viewers and many travellers have experienced some challenges and frustrations.”
The Billo’s say they have asked for an exemption to isolate on their property, but say they don’t expect an answer until they reach the New Brunswick border.