Quebecers forced to spend several thousand dollars to go to their homes in the United States by air want an exemption that will allow them to pass through the land border, closed since March.
“I have to take two planes, go through three airports, rent a car to get to my house. Seems to me that I’m much more at risk [d’attraper la COVID-19] by doing that, by staying in my tank to cross the border, ”explains Denys Laflamme, owner of a second home in Colebrook, New Hampshire.
Since March 18, 2020, the land border between the United States and Canada remains closed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Some people have an exception; for example, those who need to travel to the United States for medical treatment.
However, Canadian travelers can still go to our neighbors to the south by plane.
A petition, signed by more than 5,000 people, asks the two levels of government for an exemption so that owners of second homes can get to their homes by land.
“All we ask is to allow us access [aux] properties now, not for recreational purposes, but rather to do what is necessary to properly prepare them, shut them down and secure them for a potentially long period of time, ”the petition reads.
By plane only
The air route is therefore the only means that Mr. Laflamme, 49, and his wife, Patricia Bourque, 45, have to get to their house, which is only 20 kilometers from the border.
Owner of an electric car, the trip from Quebec cost them before the pandemic about $ 30 per trip. But by having to take a plane from Quebec to Montreal, then from Montreal to Boston and then rent a car to make the 325 km trip between Boston and their house in Colebrook, the bill rises to over $ 2,000. for the round trip, an increase of more than 3300%.
“At the price it costs to get to our place, I can’t pay $ 2000 each time! We cannot take care of our house, we cannot prepare it for winter, ”laments the one who works for the Government of Quebec, just like his wife. He fears that this ban will prevent him from protecting his property against possible damage which would then not be covered by insurance.
In addition to the cost, it is also the travel time which has been increased considerably from 3 hours 30 minutes to almost 12 hours, says Mr. Laflamme.
According to Ciara Trudeau, spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada, “it is up to the competent authorities of a territory to decide who can cross its borders”.
For his part, Nate Peeters, spokesperson for the United States Customs and Border Protection, indicates by email that travel made for the sole purpose of visiting personal property for leisure purposes is not are not considered essential under the temporary travel restrictions.