Many snowbirds are giving up on fleeing the harsh winter for the Florida sun because of the pandemic, but a few diehard Gauls plan to go at all costs.
“We were very careful here. We will do the same procedure over there […], but cuddly, at least it will be nice to be a little in the sun ”, argued Wednesday Raymond Racette, a sixty-year-old from Saint-Sauveur who will go to the south in November with his wife to stay there until April .
The owner of a plot of land with a mobile home recognizes that there is no such thing as zero risk of contracting COVID-19, but he is convinced that everything will be fine as long as he follows the sanitary rules once there.
For example, he mentions that visits are prohibited on the site he frequents, Park Lake Estates, and that the wearing of a mask is required in all common areas.
However, many other snowbirds contacted on Wednesday and their acquaintances have instead abandoned their plans for an escape, discouraged by the management of the COVID-19 crisis by the US administration of Donald Trump.
“I find that they don’t take it seriously, that they deconfin quickly and that the president is completely crazy. It weighs a lot in the balance, ”summarized Jean-Marc Gagné, who makes several ten-day stays in Florida each winter, normally.
According to Johns Hopkins University, around 2,000 new cases of COVID-19 and more than 100 deaths occur in Florida daily.
In an interview with Winnipeg radio CJOB on Wednesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau argued that he could not prevent avid snowbirds from leaving Canada, but warned them that they would do so at their peril.
“There is freedom of movement in this country, [mais] people just have to recognize that they are putting themselves and their loved ones at risk and that they would not necessarily have the same access to health care insurance, ”he said.
This last point contributed to the decision of Jean Shaffer and Madeleine Fortin, a couple from Laval, to put aside their usual trip to Florida.
“Insurers tell us that they would insure us for COVID-19, but that if there is an overflow in hospitals and we are not Americans, we will not be the first on the list”, Ms. Fortin noted.
Either way, Denis Lussier, owner of an apartment complex in West Palm Beach, doesn’t expect Quebeckers to set foot in his house anytime soon. What especially convinces his customers to pass his turn, according to him, are their worried children.