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N.B. man helping ill family member move from Quebec questions hotel isolation policy

Click to play video: 'NB resident seeks ‘compassionate’ clarity on hotel quarantine policy' NB resident seeks ‘compassionate’ clarity on hotel quarantine policy
New Brunswick resident Gratien David is currently in Quebec helping his ill father-in-law pack up and move to New Brunswick so he can care for him. But he was approved prior to New Brunswick’s hotel quarantine policy and now is left with more questions than answers. Callum Smith explains – Apr 27, 2021

Gratien David is a New Brunswick resident currently in Quebec helping his ill father-in-law move to New Brunswick so he and his wife can care for him.

Ghislain Martel, David’s father-in-law, lives with COPD and dementia.

“The doctor gave him three-to-five years [to live],” says David. “It’s been three years already. And sometimes since I’ve been here, he walks 15, 20 feet, 50 feet sometimes, and he’s [got a] lack of air so he needs to take his pump.”

But due to his deteriorating health, he’s sold his Quebec home ahead of moving to New Brunswick. The sale closes May 6.

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David has two trailers set up on his property in northeastern New Brunswick where they planned to isolate. But that’s because he was approved Wednesday, prior to Friday’s hotel quarantine announcement.

Now, he’ll have to go to a hotel with his father-in-law and believes they’ll have to front the bill.

Read more: More than 2 dozen in N.B. isolation hotels on Day 1 of new rules

“I need help,” David says. “I need to know why would they go that severe for people that are travelling for compassion.”

Under section 36 (F)(i) of New Brunswick’s mandatory order, it says isolation facility guests are responsible for the cost of their stay — estimated to be about $200 per day, including meals — unless they’re a New Brunswick resident outside the province “for work or business or in connection with a death or serious illness in their family.”

Premier Blaine Higgs says medical cases will be considered.

“In the case of someone there on a bereavement leave or with a health concern, there are special circumstances that are looked at from public safety and how we manage that,” he said in response to a Global News question at the provincial COVID-19 news conference Tuesday.

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“Getting to the cost… What we’re differentiating from here are people that were leisure travellers versus those were work-related travels or essentials travellers,” Higgs said. “So we need to have the isolation protocol to be the same, but we feel that if you had an option not to travel but you did it anyway, then the cost is yours.”

“But if you actually are working and travelling because of your work, if you’re travelling because you’re providing essential service, whether you’re working in our province or your driving and bringing goods into our province, or you had to go because of bereavement and a personal situation, we’ll look at those,” he said. “But we are separating primarily leisure, optional travel versus essential travel.”

Read more: A person in their 20s has become New Brunswick’s youngest victim of COVID-19

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The Canadian Red Cross, which is looking after hotel accommodations and providing meals, has been inundated with calls.

“We have had a lot of inquires from people who are outside of the province now, who are in some cases, actually in many cases, they are just learning of the revised order and the implications it could have on their travel plans,” Bill Lawlor, the provincial director for New Brunswick and P.E.I. says. “Obviously, we’re dealing with a lot of unique situations and circumstances as they arise.”

Lawlor says like David, the first step for everyone is to get approved for travel by the province, otherwise, the Red Cross can’t assist.

Higgs said he understands restrictions are “beyond inconvenient” and that Friday’s announcements “have thrown many lives into a state of turmoil.”

But he said in his opening remarks if we can “celebrate summer in New Brunswick — maybe not completely like we did in past summers, but so much better than we did last year and what we could do if we don’t control the situation — I am convinced these several weeks of inconvenience will be forgotten.”

But David is still left searching for answers.

“It’s a lot of mixed emotion right now for me, and I don’t know, I don’t know what to do,” he says.

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