A Canadian couple has found themselves in quarantine, and at risk of losing their residency in Mexico, after a mishap at the U.S. border.
Barbara Moller and John Grant Howse own property in La Paz, where they usually spend half the year.
On Thursday, the Inveremere, B.C., couple loaded up their trailer with intent to drive down to the property.
Moller’s son had made the same trip in July, and because the duo had legal documents showing their address and legal residency in Mexico, they expected a smooth border crossing.
Instead, the U.S. border agent told them they’d have to pull a U-turn and head back to Canada.
“They said because of the COVID, we wouldn’t know where you were going in the U.S. or this sort of thing, so we have no way of keeping track of you,” said Grant Howse.
“We were probably under a minute, for certain, in the states. We never got out of the truck once. We had masks on,” added Moller.
Things took a turn for the worse when the couple arrived back at the Canadian border crossing.
The pair were told they’d have to quarantine at home for 14 days, and were at risk of a large fine or jail time if they didn’t comply.
“It was like he enjoyed telling us that,” said Moller.
“We were spoken to as if we were a couple of dummies or something. Just this gentleman’s attitude was horrible. I’ve never been treated like this at a Canadian border before,” added Grant Howse.
“Every time we’ve returned to Canada, it’s been ‘welcome home.’ Not this time.”
In a statement to Global News, the Canada Border Services Agency said the Quarantine Act restrictions due to COVID-19 apply to anyone entering the country, no matter how long they’ve been outside.
“There are no specific provisions that exempt travellers who are refused entry into the U.S. from having to quarantine,” reads the statement.
The couple are now holed up in their Kootenay home, but say they could lose their Mexican residency, which must be renewed in person by Oct. 23.
“We can’t even book a flight until our quarantine is over, which is past the due date,” said Moller.
-With files from Aaron McArthurView link »