Hotel Quarantines for Air Travellers

Hotel Quarantines for Air Travellers

Air travellers are required to take a test within three days of departure, and again on arrival, only those flying to Canada must spend up to three days of the country's 14-day required quarantine period in a hotel. U.S. taxi and limousine services are seeing a boom in business from customers seeking to enter Canada by land to avoid a restriction on international travel that applies only to air traffic. That has led to a surge of calls for taxi and limousine services from Canadians who fly through U.S. airports in states like New York and then cross over the land border, representatives of four companies.

"They call from six in the morning to 12 at night," John Arnet, general manager of 716 Limousine in Buffalo, N.Y. said. "We've had so many requests for border crossings that we're turning them down." The company now does more business driving Canadians to their homes in Ontario than with U.S. clients.

A taxi trip across the border can cost around $200 or $250 compared with a three-day hotel stay of more than C$1,200 ($961), Canadian travel insurance broker Martin Firestone said. With the Canada-U.S. land border mostly closed for more than a year due to the pandemic, and overall tourism down, the recent surge in business has come as a relief to some struggling taxi operators. Nick Boccio, general manager of Buffalo Limousines, said the Canadian clientele has helped the company bring back chauffeurs.

On Friday, Boccio said the company gave nine different rides to Canadian passengers on just one flight from Florida. Canada has imposed tough restrictions since the start of the pandemic, including a ban on most foreigners from entering the country. Canadians can fly out of the country and return either by land or air. But concerns are mounting due to a surge in virus variants, with the once temporary hotel quarantine now mandatory for air travelers through late May, and a ban introduced this week on direct flights from India and Pakistan.

Firestone said some of his clients who spent the winter in Florida are returning by land to avoid hotels. Some get rides; others who usually get their cars shipped are driving them north. "Every single limousine company has got on the bandwagon," Firestone said. Some Canadians ask to be driven home, while others take rides to the border, cross on foot and get another ride in Canada, drivers said.

Non-commercial land border crossings were 60% higher during one week at the end of March and beginning of April than in the same week in 2020, according to data from the Canada Border Services Agency. Air travel for that same week, meanwhile, increased 18.8%.

And Other , The United States imports more crude from Canada than any other nation, at about 3.7 million barrels per day, or about 80%of Canada's crude output. Ottawa's strategy, according to four sources familiar with the government's thinking, is to repeatedly raise the issue of Enbridge Inc's (ENB.TO) Line 5 with numerous U.S. counterparts - including Biden - to get them to pressure Michigan's Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer to keep the pipeline open. Last November, Michigan ordered Line 5 to shut by May 13, citing the environmental risk of a possible leak in the four-mile (6-km) stretch of the 540,000-bpd line passing under the Straits of Mackinac in the Great Lakes. The White House has shown no sign of responding to Canadian entreaties, so Ottawa is considering more drastic options, including a threat to invoke an obscure bilateral treaty to keep Line 5 operating or intervene in the legal dispute currently playing out in U.S. courts.

Line 5, which flows crude oil and refined products from Wisconsin to Sarnia, Ontario, via Michigan, has been in operation for nearly 70 years, but officials in Michigan are increasingly alarmed by its advanced age. The line has never leaked into the straits but there have been at least eight other spills since 1980, according to U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration data. The imbroglio over Line 5 comes just three months after Biden angered the Canadian oil and gas industry by cancelling a permit for the long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline project on his first day in office.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government reluctantly accepted that decision, even though it killed thousands of construction jobs and further soured Ottawa's relationship with the main energy-producing province of Alberta. Ottawa has resolved to fight publicly to keep Line 5 open, which - unlike Keystone - is already operating and a vital link in Enbridge's export network that ships the vast majority of crude from Canada's western oil patch to the United States. Canadian government officials are frustrated by how much time they are spending on the matter, the sources said.

Canada has discussed the pipeline's fate in dozens of bilateral meetings, including 23 virtual meetings between lawmakers and U.S. members of Congress, according to a spokesman for Canada's Natural Resources Minister Seamus O'Regan. "Clearly Line 5 is an important issue for the government of Canada at the same time we need to be advancing on a cooperative basis the work we're doing on climate action," Canada Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson told Reuters earlier this month.

Wilkinson raised the pipeline on Feb. 24 during a meeting with U.S. climate envoy John Kerry. Trudeau also raised Line 5 with Biden when the two met in February to discuss making global warming a joint priority. The Canadian prime minister attended a U.S. international climate summit hosted by Biden last week. Neither Kerry nor the White House responded to a request for comment. Calgary-based Enbridge has refused to shut the pipeline, arguing the governor's order needs to be backed by a judge. The case is being heard in U.S. federal court and the two parties started mediation on April 16. Enbridge spokesman Ryan Duffy said a negotiated solution would be in the best interests of all parties. Trudeau's administration is mulling whether to take part in the legal challenge by filing an amicus, or "friend of the court" brief, which would explicitly lay out their reasons for backing Enbridge, said a source directly familiar with the matter. Ottawa is also considering invoking the never-before-used 1977 Transit Pipelines Treaty, designed to stop U.S. or Canadian public officials from impeding the flow of oil in transit.  Enbridge's Duffy said "The federal government continues to have a role to play, and we appreciate what they've done to date,".
Previous Post Next Post