New mandatory quarantine rules are now in effect for international travellers landing in Canada.
Vancouver is one of four locations in Canada where travellers must fly into and quarantine in a government-designated hotel until they get a negative COVID-19 test result.
That could take up to three days, and travellers will be on the hook for the cost of the hotel.
Five hotels in Vancouver have been approved by the federal government:
- Fairmont Vancouver Airport
- The Westin Wall Centre, Vancouver Airport
- Days Inn by Wyndham, Vancouver Airport
- Radisson Vancouver Airport
- Four Points by Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel
However, you can’t call the hotel directly to book a quarantine stay, said Claire Newell, founder of the Travel Best Bets agency. Instead, you have to call the 1-800 number on the government’s website (1-800-461-9999).
“You have to pre-pay, non-refundable, for three nights, regardless of the fact that you may only stay for two if your (COVID) tests come back negative,” she added.
When it comes to pricing, Newell said, as of Friday the Fairmont Vancouver Airport was the cheapest option for single occupancy at $1,635 at three nights and double occupancy at $2,356.
For a family of four sharing a room — two adults and two children under 12 — the cheapest option was the Westin Wall Centre for $3,955 for three nights, Newell said.
“I really feel for people who are away, say visiting a friend or family member who is ill, because it was very inconvenient having to wait on hold for three hours and we’re still not sure if this will be a 24-hour service as right now there’s no online option (to book),” she added.
Included in the price is food, enhanced security and sanitation, the ability to go outside into a safe area for a short period of time.
“Compared to what the rates are on the hotel websites, these rates are significantly more expensive,” Newell said.
The other three locations in Canada are Alberta, Ontario and Quebec.
If a traveller tests positive, they will be required to stay a full 14 days, either in a “federally designated quarantine facility or other suitable location.”
The penalty for breaking the rules can go up to $3,000 for “a day of non-compliance,” according to the federal government, and breaking any quarantine or isolation rules when entering Canada could land travellers a fine of up to $750,000 or up to six months in jail.
Breaking from those requirements and causing death or serious bodily harm is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000,000 or up to three years in prison.
The federal government also outlines these guidelines on its website, here.
Travellers entering by land do not need to stay in a hotel, but starting Monday, everyone will have to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival and another one 10 days later while in quarantine.\