It’s not quite Planes, Trains and Automobiles, but for Metro Vancouver resident Sean Palmer, the journey he’s embarking on over the U.S. border is just as crazy as John Hughes’ famous 1987 movie.
On Tuesday morning, Palmer will drive his truck to YVR, get on a flight to Seattle, jump into a rental car at SeaTac, drive back north towards Canada, spend a few hours winterizing his trailer near Burlington, before driving back over the land border and finally to YVR, where he will swap his rental vehicle for his own truck by the end of the day.
Palmer’s torturous trip – forced on him due to COVID-19 restrictions at the Canada/U.S. land border – doesn’t end there, though.
Assuming it all goes to plan and he gets home safely Tuesday night, he will then have to spend the next 14 days in quarantine.
“It’s absolutely crazy and asinine that I have spend all this time to fly down there, rent a car and then spend 14 days in quarantine, when, logically, I could leave my house in Cloverdale, drive 10 minutes to the U.S. border, drive straight to the trailer in half an hour or so, do what I need to do and drive home, having barely left my truck,” said Palmer, a Richmond hotel food and beverage manager.
“Instead, they want me to take the risk of getting on a plane, travel to an American airport and get in a rental car, that I have to assume has been cleaned.
“I’m in this situation along with many Canadians, in that we can’t cross the land border to take care of our property, which could be a boat, a cabin, a trailer, whatever.”
Palmer said, with winter coming, lots of areas of his trailer, inside and out, need to be sealed off from the freeze, snow and rodents.
“I could get someone down there to do it for me, but how do I get them the keys? And we have food in the cupboards that’s been in there for six months. It’s a big investment of time and money,” added Palmer.
“Other people have actual houses down there and some have boats in the water that need to come out for the winter.”
Palmer said he has no idea why the rules for flying into the U.S. are different from the land crossing, including not having to quarantine until he re-enters Canada.
“I don’t know. That’s their rules. But that’s the magic question,” he said.
“Someone told me they’re doing that to help keep the airlines in business. They’re forcing people to fly when they don’t want to.
“I guess there’s a chance I might get turned back at Seattle. But what other choices do I have?”
Palmer said, with thousands of Canadians likely in a similar situation to him, “some provision has to be made for these situations with the winter coming in. Maybe a 24-hour pass would be enough?
“It baffles me that I would be safer by driving over the border and driving back, than flying and renting a vehicle.”
Thankfully, said Palmer, his employer is understanding and he will be able to do most of his work from home while in quarantine.
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