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Seven $1,200 tickets given to Americans who hiked in Banff National Park in past week: RCMP

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In the past week, Mounties have issued seven $1,200 tickets to Americans violating public health orders in Banff National Park. – Jun 22, 2020

In the past week, Mounties have issued seven $1,200 tickets to Americans violating public health orders in Banff National Park.

Cpl. Deanna Fontaine said Sunday that she could only speak to six of the seven tickets issued, noting they were in the Lake Louise area.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: What does Banff look like without international tourism?

On June 16, RCMP responded to a complaint about an American-plated vehicle “parked at a location for a significant amount of time.” Upon investigation, police issued four tickets to the American citizens from the vehicle for contravening the order of the medical officer of health.

On June 18, police responded to two incidents with similar circumstances: one a public complaint and the other an observation by an officer.

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READ MORE: Banff ‘ready to welcome visitors back’ as Alberta eases COVID-19 restrictions

In both cases, U.S. citizens had been “hiking for an extended period of time” and were ticketed.

“If a U.S. traveller was allowed into Canada by Canada Border Service Agency for an essential purpose, they have to abide by those requirements,” Fontaine said.

“Under the public health order, if you were told by Canada Border Service Agency that the essential purpose is to get from point A to point B and the essential parts of that would be like food, fuel, rest stops and things like that, going for a lengthy hike in the national park wouldn’t meet that essential piece.”

People walk across a street in the town of Banff in Banff National Park on Friday, July 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Americans have to abide by CBSA instructions. Currently, non-essential travel at the Canada-U.S. border is prohibited.

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“Banff detachment has not identified this as a policing issue,” Fontaine said.

“We are responding… to these complaints reactively and dealing with these issues as they come in accordance with public health guidelines. This is not something that we are targeting or pursuing proactively. We are dealing with this reactively.”

READ MORE: Concerns raised as people crowd rare white grizzly in Banff and Yoho parks

Fontaine said the RCMP’s priority is to mitigate issues through education — by providing support so people have the necessary requirements to get through. Hiking is obviously not necessary, she said.

“We would just hope that when we do encounter these situations, that if we do have persons from the U.S. who are travelling through, that they are in compliance with the directions that they’ve been given by the Canadian Border Service Agency and that they are being reasonable in their essential needs as they travel through,” she said.

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