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Sandy and Richard Garber stepped off a plane from Mexico on May 1 to face $10,170 in fines.

Sandy told me Wednesday that they wouldn’t go to a COVID hotel because she has to undergo special therapy at home and all the equipment was there.

She said they were surrounded by border security and police officers, who detained the couple for more than an hour.

At the end of their encounter, she said, they got $3,700 fines each — and when they refused the COVID test because they’d had one 60 hours before, each was hit with another $1,600 fine.

Garber added that, given her medical issues, she was also concerned about going to a quarantine hotel, where there have been COVID outbreaks.

“We’re going to fight this in court,” she said. “It’s a violation of our rights.”

She added that she felt like a “criminal.”

Garber said she feels the quarantine program is a “farce” because it’s not enforced well.

She said they call you every two or three days on your cellphone, but there’s little surveillance.


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“They’re spending so much money on manpower at the airport and on the PCR test,” she said, noting their quarantine is up Friday. “The money the government is wasting … put the money into the health-care system.”

No kidding. And for what?

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Lockdown measures don’t work and the hotel quarantine program is a complete mess — one which gives border security guards incredible power to pick and choose who gets fined and how much.

Garber is correct when she says travellers are just being “punished” for daring not to follow the edicts of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who has turned the simple act of getting Canadians vaccinated in a timely manner into an unmitigated disaster.

The quarantine is a contradiction in terms for those of us who are completely vaccinated — like my wife Denise and me.

We arrived back in Canada on Tuesday after I’d driven with her and our three doxies over three days from Florida.

Days before, I registered with the ArriveCAN app, indicating we’d be getting our COVID PCR tests en route.

The questions did not ask whether we’d been vaccinated.

It seems the government that preaches non-stop in TV ads to get vaccinated does not want to know if those vaccines are readily available outside Canada.

We both, in fact, were able to receive the required double doses of the Moderna vaccine while I was down to close the sale of my parents’ Florida home and move everything out. I even have a vaccine card, akin to a passport, to prove it.


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We got our PCR tests — $139 each — at a CVS pharmacy in Charleston, S.C., on Sunday, and I was clutching the results when we arrived at the Peace Bridge border (which was like a ghost town except for a constant stream of trucks).

The nice border guard, who implied he was weary of all the lockdown measures, didn’t even ask to see those negative tests.

Instead, he gave us our four Switch Health At Home Collection Kits and sent us further along to a public health official.

The official spent considerable time kindly walking us through the test, contained in a glossy blue box — even though I knew they’d come back negative.

Now we’re in quarantine — like so many others who’ve returned to Canada fully vaccinated — waiting for the results of a Day 8 at-home COVID test.

Public health media officials — when reached for comment — have consistently indicated that this is “unprecedented action to protect the health and safety of Canadians” that will prevent the transmission of COVID-19 and new variants of the virus.

  1. Travellers from an international flight are directed to the COVID-19 testing area as part of Canada's measures against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at Toronto Pearson International Airport in Mississauga, February 24, 2021.

    LEVY: Traveller warned to be polite to border guard or pay higher fine

  2. A passenger is pictured at Pearson International Airport on Jan. 31, 2021.

    LEVY: Switch Health leaves COVID test client on hold for 10 hours

  3. Daniel Kerzner

    LEVY: COVID hotel experience inefficient and unnecessary, says travel exec

“The testing requirements for international travellers, in combination with other measures including a 14-day quarantine, are necessary to protect people in Canada,” public health officials said.

They’ve also made it clear that being vaccinated doesn’t matter — that every traveller is treated the same.


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